Connect with us


Film Room: James Washington’s Full Arsenal of Moves is Ridiculously Good



Friend of the blog Adam Lunt (follow him on Twitter) broke down some James Washington film recently after doing QB1 a few weeks ago. Hope you guys enjoy his evaluation of No. 28.

James Washington is a really fun player to watch, bottom line. Over the past month I’ve watched a lot of film on college football players, and haven’t come away smiling and constantly shaking my head (in a good way) as much as I have when I watched James Washington play. He certainly isn’t without flaws, but he has some plays in his game that are simply unbelievable at times.

To be up front, watching film of WRs is kind of difficult. A lot of the time you’re watching how they come out of breaks, or small movements here or there setting up DBs on routes. Those movements or breaks aren’t always in the frame of the camera, so it’s challenging to get a full read on them vs. other positions.

The guys that do this stuff for a living will buy subscriptions or have better access to “All 22” type camera angles that will give you the whole picture, some of these are on YouTube but it’s somewhat limited. What you are able to gather is how they come off the line, and how they are able to go up and catch the ball, how physical they are etc.

Just as I did with Mason Rudolph, I watched as many games as I could find on YouTube, these included ISU ’15, OU ’15, Pitt ’16, ISU ’16. Even though it was only 4 games I think it provided a good snapshot of his skill set and positive and negative aspects to his game. It also provided some solid clarity on progressions he made in his game from 2015 to the 2016 season, which were pretty significant.

Where Washington really wins is creating separation based off his speed (obviously), but also his hands. He uses his hands and stiff arm to not only create separation from the DB to avoid any holding/grabbing, but also to provide a throwing window as well. He showed consistent ability to beat tight physical coverage, and his hands were critical here.

Washington has an incredible ability to jump and grab high balls mid-route. Most people associate this skill with go routes or jump balls, but Washington has a knack for doing this all over the field. Here is a great example of what I’m referring to.

The ball was thrown hard and high and he was able to elevate in the middle of a slant route to grab it. That isn’t normal, people.

Speaking of go routes and jump balls….he is really good at those as well (shocking right?!?). He rarely gets out-bodied on these and does a tremendous job of using his hands and body to create space for himself to go elevate and catch the ball.

Here is a good example of when he didn’t do this to put things in perspective.

The corner does a great job of pushing him outside of the hashes, and timing/spacing of the play is totally ruined.

Washington does a great job of tracking balls, there were several examples of balls that were poorly thrown where he had to adjust and make the catch. Some of these were caught directly over his head, which is a very difficult task. He also does a great job of high-pointing catches and not letting balls fall into his arms/body. This was one of the biggest knocks on Justin Blackmon coming out, he didn’t high-point balls well and used his body too often to catch. This will get you in trouble eventually, and lead to more drops. The best receivers go up and catch the ball at its highest point where it’s least vulnerable from DBs.

There were some really good examples of Washington recognizing the ball, creating space with his hands, and using excellent body control to make the catch. In this example you get it all, pair that with an excellent throw from Rudolph and that’s really tough to defend.

Washington has really strong hands too. There are countless examples where he is in a physical route with a DB and is able to bring the ball in that was heavily contested. Good example here where he is fighting with the DB virtually the entire route, catches the ball at an awkward point (on top of his helmet) and still able to come down with it.

I don’t have a lot of criticism for Washington, but my main one would be developing a little more fluidity in his routes. He has tremendous speed but his acceleration/quickness could stand to improve a tad. He has a tendency to be a little stiff in/out of breaks and also in YAC situations. Here are two examples of where he shows great acceleration, but I didn’t see this enough.

Also there were a few examples of where he has a tendency to drop a few balls. These are concentration drops, as he has excellent hands. I’m sure everyone remembers the wide open touchdown he dropped vs. Colorado. There are a few examples of this throughout the season. Drops happen, and specifically ones that are based on concentration can be fixed. I think that ideally would be something you would like to see Washington improve on going into this season.

One thing to note about Washington is he isn’t tall. I fully expect him to go to the NFL combine and have a 5 as the first number in his height. It is truly shocking, because he plays like he is 6’3+. He is a long strider and has a high vertical so it is misleading.

It will be interesting to see if that holds him back in the NFL Draft process, obviously we already know he can play at an extremely high right at X or Z (outside WR in OSU system) in college. There aren’t many true flanker-style WRs in the NFL who are under 6’0, so he will be a unique case.

Random observation but he reminds me of Chris Chambers (former Miami Dolphins WR), who was also short but played much bigger than his size indicates.

To wrap things up, I wanted to include this video because it’s hilarious. This is Washington’s 92-yard bomb on the first play of the Pitt game, this wasn’t viewable on the normal camera angle. This is a bad coverage bust, as there is an obvious miscommunication between the corner and safety. There ends up being 5 players defending Jalen Mckleskey, while James Washington (you know the best WR on the team), steaks by himself down the field wide open. Here’s to hoping for many more 92-yard TD catches in 2017!

Most Read