Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington torched the Pittsburgh Panthers’ secondary on Saturday, posting a monster 9-296-2 stat line. That’s more than enough to get a piece of the national spotlight most weeks, but unfortunately for Washington, Lamar Jackson almost broke the internet by making the Florida State Seminoles look silly.
Like most college football observers, I too am in awe of what Jackson is doing, but we should recognize the magnitude of Washington’s massive game last Saturday.
Where does this single game performance stack up historically, and should we start looking at Washington as a higher-end WR prospect?
Say Hello To The Record Book
According to Sports Reference, since the 2000 season, just 22 collegiate WRs have hit the 275-yard receiving mark with two or more touchdowns in a single game. Among that group, only six WRs have reached this threshold in a game with 10 or fewer receptions:
Washington’s cohorts on this list do not inspire a ton of confidence for his future prospects, but a one-game explosion certainly does not indicate future sustained success. What is encouraging is when we look at the top 20 in terms of total number of games with at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown since 2014:
There are a few things to unpack here. First, hello there Corey Davis.
Second, of all the eligible names on this list, only Daniel Braverman is not on an active NFL roster, currently residing on the Chicago Bears’ practice squad. Hitting this statistical threshold in 25 percent of his career games, surrounded by this impressive group of peer WRs, gives us an idea of the potential range of outcomes for Washington moving forward.
Young With Underwhelming Production
Let’s assume Washington decides to declare following the 2016 season. We know that team market share and age are both tremendous indicators of future success for WR prospects.
Washington doesn’t turn 21 until April, well below the average age of the 2016 WR class. And while his age is certainly a check mark in the plus column, his career-to-date market share numbers are not nearly as positive:
The increase in every category thus far this season is encouraging, but lacking a full season with at least 30 percent of the team’s receiving yardage is worrisome.
The truth is James Washington is far from a perfect prospect. He has yet to command elite-level market share production over a full season, and at 6 feet, 205 pounds, lacks the prototypical size we look for in WRs. As we concluded earlier, the ability to put up video-game numbers in a single game does not guarantee NFL success, and we won’t know his measured athleticism until spring.
But if he does declare at the end of the season, becoming one of the youngest eligible WR prospects, Washington immediately becomes a player to monitor for dynasty purposes.