On December 28th, James Washington will look to continue his incredible season against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Camping World Bowl. The 6-foot-0, 205-pound, senior wide receiver is one of the top deep threats in the country. Washington averaged 20.6 yards per reception this season (tied for 10th in the nation). During his junior and sophomore seasons, Washington averaged 19.4 yards per reception and 20.5 yards per reception respectively.
Washington was the recipient of the 2017 Biletnikoff Award and is ostensibly one of the top WR prospects in this upcoming draft class.
As a freshman, Washington posted a 28/456/6 receiving line. Albeit the results from his freshman season are not flashy, he led the team with six touchdown catches, a mark that ranked fourth nationally among true freshmen. Additionally, he turned in the most productive receiving game as a Cowboys freshman since Dez Bryant. Washington posted a four-catch, 117-yard, one-TD performance against Baylor, a performance that foreshadowed an excellent college career.
Alongside quarterback Mason Rudolph, Washington’s receiving production skyrocketed. Over his sophomore and junior years, he posted receiving lines of 53/1087/10 and 71/1380/10 respectively. Although Washington was expected to declare last season, he opted to return to Stillwater.
Washington’s decision to return for his senior season has increased his draft stock. Not only did he win the Biletnikoff, he also improved on several of his raw production numbers.
Although he saw slight declines in his market share of receiving yards and dominator ratings, Washington is currently second in the nation in raw receiving yards. It is likely that after the Camping World Bowl, Washington will finish the season with the most receiving yards in 2017.
Aside from a few lackluster games, Washington’s production has been terrific.
NFL Draft Prospects
With multiple impressive seasons under his belt, James Washington is currently considered to be a late-first or early-second round draft pick. Additionally, Washington has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl. Strong showings in both bowl games and the NFL combine would likely propel Washington into the mid-first round.
Referencing Kevin Cole’s regression tree for evaluating prospects, we can see that Washington’s career market share of receiving Yards is light, although his high number of total yards and extremely high yards per reception help to balance the concerns associated with this.
It’s also a very bad sign that Washington used all four years of eligibility, as seniors historically have been overvalued in the draft. However, even though he returned for his senior season, Washington will turn 22 at the time of the NFL Draft. His solid performance early in college and strong overall resume should quell some of your fears in this regard.
Although Washington is not the ideal height for a franchise WR, his big-play ability should put him on your radar.