Parker Washington may be the best athlete with the ball in his hands out of every player in this 2023 draft class. He is a highly explosive athlete who consistently breaks tackles and makes defenders miss. However, he is not ranked among the top receivers in the 2023 draft class. What are the reasons behind this? Let’s look deeply into his profile to find the answer to why.
- College: Penn State
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 204 lbs
- Hand Size: 10 ⅛”
- Age: 21
- Year: Sophmore
- Draft Projection: Early Day Three
High School and Personal Life
Parker Washington (actual first name Christopher) is from Sugar Land, Texas. He played baseball, basketball, and football for Fort Bend Travis High School. Throughout high school, he accumulated 160 receptions for 2,800 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns. He also added another 200 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Washington received a four-star rating from 247Sports and offers from 15 college football programs. He decided to take his talents to Happy Valley and enrolled at Penn State on August 1, 2020.
Washington had a great career at Penn State as a receiver but was never the “featured” part of the offense in any season. Jahan Dotson overshadowed him in 2020 and 2021. During the latest season, he was out-targetted by transfer Mitchell Tinsley. Perhaps that is the correct role for Washington, even at the next level.
He is an electric playmaker when you get the ball in his hands, evident by the number of screens and passes behind the line of scrimmage he would receive. Washington was also the primary punt return man for the Nittany Lions in his final season. Many scouts think he could have done well for himself to return to college for his senior season, but he leaves State College with almost two thousand yards from scrimmage and twelve total touchdowns throughout his three years there.
Electric With The Ball In His Hands
Some players are just natural yards after the catch runner, and Washington is one of them. Another attribute I will highlight below is that he looks like a running back with the ball in his hands. As soon as he catches the ball, his eyes turn upfield, and figuring out how he is going to make the next defender miss.
Tough To Bring Down With One Tackler
This is just one of many clips on Washington’s tape of him breaking through one or even two tackles in a single play. He is the definition of challenging to bring down, and any defender trying to make a play for the ball will quickly realize they have made a mistake. However, we must remember that these college players are only some of the best tacklers in the world. I still want to see him do it against NFL-level competition before crowning him as a tackle-breaking machine.
Running Back Frame And Agility
Here is another clip showing how Washington operates more like a running back with the ball in his hand. He can easily navigate the open field and has enough agility to leverage blocks in front of him. He can turn a simple catch over the middle into a substantial gain, thanks to those abilities.
Hands And Catch Radius
Despite his 29″ arms, Washington has one of the more enormous catch radii for a receiver his size. There are multiple highlight plays like this where he extends his body horizontally and reels in a one-handed catch. Washington watched many Odell Beckham Jr. highlights when he was growing up. It is nice to see a player not let his size hold him back when making plays at this level.
Areas To Improve
Washington will need to work on his route running to elevate his game at the NFL level. He can improve in this area for as good of an athlete as he is. Being crisper in his cuts and learning the art of head fakes, combined with his athleticism, could make him a deadly option for his NFL offense.
Being Knocked Off Routes
Numerous examples across his tape of Washington being knocked off his routes. Being a smaller receiver, he is easily bodied by defending corners. If he were to land in a timing-based offense, he would hear it from his coaches about this. Washington must be better at fighting through contact with any defensive backs and maintaining his route discipline.
According to PFF, 35% of Washington’s targets in 2022 came in the center of the field and within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. When you watch his tape, these numbers play out on video. He had a specific role in this Penn State offense. Hopefully, NFL scouts can envision a broader use for Washington at the next level. We would want to see him turn into something other than one trick pony.
Projected Draft Capital & Role
Washington has a skillset that NFL teams will place value on. Unfortunately, that role will only produce a few fantasy points unless you play in a league that rewards points for return yards. When I try to project Washington to the NFL level, a player like DeSean Jackson comes to mind. Jackson was a very electric athlete as both a returner and a receiver but never commanded the control of an offense. This is a similar role I see Washington filling for his NFL team. According to NFL Mock Draft Database, he is currently projected as a third-round selection.
Dynasty Rookie Value
Washington is currently going outside the top 25 picks of any rookie mock draft I have participated in. A day-two selection in the NFL draft may be enough to elevate him in some leagues, but only a few. If your league mates undervalue him, he is worth a dart throw with a third-round or later rookie pick. Washington is currently my WR17 in this draft class and ranked as the 45th overall player in my Superflex rookie rankings. I am fine letting my league mates reach for Washington, but I will gladly take him at value if he falls.
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I hope you enjoyed this rookie profile. Be sure to check back often, as I will cover all fantasy-relevant positions. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!