Scouting Report-It's tough to get noticed when you play on the same team as Jerry Hughes but Washington has no problems doing so this year for TCU. The Horned Frogs play that funky 4-2-5 base defense that doesn't use a true outside linebacker. Washington played inside. This is important when you realize just how great his range was from that inside position. he could break out into coverage and run with tight ends and backs. He works down the line of scrimmage really well, and makes plays outside of both hash marks. What stands out to me watching Washington is the fact he's not a big player, but he is very strong and very physical. But the strength of his game is being able to knife through blockers and get to the ballcarrier. As a tackler he shows excellent fundamentals and hits with no regard for the well being of the offensive player. Does well as a blitzer and shows great quickness and burst off the snap. He's a little small, and that is a concern of course. I doubt he's got the bulk or power to play on the strongside but he looks to be more than capable of playing inside in a 3-4 or as a WLB in a 4-3.
Draft Status-Washington has really made the most of his season/offseason. In a linebacker class that is a little iffy, Washington looks to be able to make himself a spot in the 2nd round. He's had a really strong offseason and his ability to play multiple linebacker spots should move him ahead of some of the better known linebackers who may have more ideal size but don't have the speed or aggression of Washington.
Final Analysis-Washington is a really nice player. He's got a good bank of skills, being able to blitz and cover. He reads the play well, and gets to it in a hurry. The fact he's a strong finisher is a definite plus and you love to have guys on your team that go 100 miles an hour from the start of the play to the finish. He does everything well, and if he could do all that at about 10 pounds heavier I'd feel better that he'll be able to be an every down linebacker. As it is now, I worry that he's not going to be able to get the penetration he does in college, and at his size, if an offensive lineman gets his hands on him, I don't know if he'll be able to disengage or even re-direct the lineman to get to the football.
Reminds me of: Derrick Johnson, LB Kansas City Chiefs-Both guys were these hyper-aggressive college linebackers who used their athleticism to get around blockers rather than through them. Both guys have a tendency to make a big play, and miss out on the simple ones. In the right scheme Johnson can be a star and I think the same hold true for Washington.
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy