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Film Study: James Washington’s Biggest Strengths



James Washington has been making plays for Oklahoma State since his freshman season, and he now enters 2017 primed for yet another productive year. But what makes the Stamford, Texas, native such a dangerous weapon? In this article, we’ll look at what makes Washington such a talented player.

Anyone who has watched the Cowboys in-depth immediately considers Washington a big-play receiver, hauling in deep catches and being a reliable target in the red zone. He’s a successful deep threat for the Cowboys for a number of reasons.

The first quality that Washington possesses is his speed. According to NFLDraftScout, Washington’s 40 time hovers around the 4.40-4.50 range. He doesn’t possess elite speed, but he uses long strides to beat almost any corner down the field.

He also has a good release off the line of scrimmage. Most corners aren’t able to get hands on him because he’s so good against press. He frequently uses an outside “foot-fire” release that allows him to get off the line without contact, allowing him to beat the corner upfield.

But Washington’s real strength lies in his deep-catch ability. Washington averaged 19.5 yards per reception in 2016, which was tied for 13th in the nation. He also had six games last season where he had over 100 yards in receiving, including a signature 296-yard performance against Pittsburgh.

NFL Draft analyst Jon Dove had this to say about the Cowboys’ senior deep threat:

“He’s someone that immediately jumps off the screen because of his athleticism and ability to make acrobatic plays. This is an aggressive receiver who doesn’t hesitate to fight through contact or use his body to box out the defensive back. It’s extremely impressive to see him adjust his body while streaking down field and dealing with contact.”

Washington has become the prototypical deep threat. Here’s an example of his excellent release and uncanny ability to adjust to the ball off his back shoulder:

Washington also has the leaping ability and an impeccable sense of timing to make mid-air adjustments and pluck the ball over smaller cornerbacks:

Although Washington is rarely used on short or intermediate routes, as is the nature of the Cowboys’ offense, he does feature both the speed and elusiveness to make things happen after the catch:

Speed, release, timing and a wide catch radius all make Washington a dangerous weapon for OSU and one of the NFL’s top incoming prospects. Washington is the best deep-threat in the country, and although the majority of Washington’s catches are on deep balls (which can be seen as a strength and a weakness), it’ll ensure that he catches the nation’s attention for his fourth and final season at OSU.


What do you think Washington’s biggest strength is? Keep your eye out for a film study on his weaknesses tomorrow!

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