Blogging The Boys will begin taking a look at some of the NFL Draft prospects that will be in the 2018 NFL Draft class. We’ll try to do this on a Friday night or Saturday morning so you can pay attention to that player in their next game if you should so choose. Some weeks, we will look at potential targets that will be within the Cowboys’ expected draft range. Others, we will highlight some of the elite members of the class.
This is the fourth week of this installment. Thus far, we have already taken a look at two defensive players (one edge rusher and one cornerback) and one offensive player (offensive lineman). Today, we’ll look at our second offensive player.
The Cowboys currently sit at 2-2 with a pivotal game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers this Sunday. The offense has only looked like itself one time this season — and it came in a loss when the offense only scored six points in the second half against the Los Angeles Rams. Defenses have game-planned to stop Cole Beasley, and the Dak Prescott-to-Dez Bryant connection still hasn’t worked out as hoped thus far.
Would the Cowboys want to add another weapon to Dak Prescott’s disposal to open things up for the entire offense? A deep threat would be a very tempting choice, as it would stretch the field, open things up for Dez and Bease, and even reduce the number of defenders in the box tasked with stopping Ezekiel Elliott.
If the Cowboys would consider such a move, here is one candidate that would fit that role.
James Washington — Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
James Washington has been one of the more electrifying wide receivers in all of college football over the last few seasons. Along with quarterback Mason Rudolph, Washington has been tearing up defenses week in and week out. His 4.4 speed and reliable hands has made Washington one of the deadlier deep threats in the game.
While Dez Bryant, another former Oklahoma State wideout, is regarded as one of the ten best receivers in the National Football League, he doesn’t possess the speed similar to the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, or Julio Jones. Developing a deep threat across the field from Dez would take this offense to an entirely different level. Secondaries would be wary of doubling Dez, it would be more of a challenge to play bracket coverage on Beasely and spy Dak, and it would be another reason not to stack the box against Zeke and company.
James Washington has been one of the more prolific wideouts in the nation since his sophomore season in Stillwater. Washington recorded 456 yards and six scores on just 28 catches as a freshman, but his numbers have improved more and more every season at OSU. His numbers jumped up to 1,087 yards and ten touchdowns on 53 receptions in 2015. His connection with Rudolph put fear in defenders’ minds each and every Saturday. He was a consensus second-team all-conference after his sophomore campaign.
As a junior, Washington was even better. The Texas native set career-highs in receptions and yards and tied his career-high in scores. OSU’s number one receiver hauled in 71 receptions for 1,380 yards and ten touchdowns. He is a threat to find the end zone every single time he lines up out wide. Both the Big 12 media and the coaches around the conferences named Washington first-team all-conference in 2016.
This season, Washington has picked up where he left off. Through just five games in 2017, Washington has tied his freshman season in catches (28), is over halfway to 1,000 yards (647), and is already halfway there in tying his career-high in touchdowns with five. He is averaging 129 yards per game this season with a high of 153 against TCU and a low of 98 against South Alabama in a game that was over before halftime (and he still found the end zone).
His most impressive stat is that Washington’s season low in yards-per-reception is 16.3(!). The speedy deep threat averaged 16.3 yards on 28 receptions as a freshman, 20.5 on 53 as a sophomore, 19.4 on 71 as a junior, and is currently averaging 23.1 yards per catch on 28 catches this season. Needless to say, big things happen when you get the ball in 28’s hands.
Would Dallas draft a receiver in round one next April? Obviously we have ways to go, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea. As mentioned above, the addition of a deep threat would open lots of things for Dak Prescott, Zeke, and company. CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso agrees — though, he goes with a different wideout:
18. Dallas Cowboys
Deontay Burnett, WR, USC. Dallas is a team that needs a deep-threat wideout on its roster. Burnett has good long speed and impeccable ball skills. He can provide some of what the Cowboys get from Cole Beasley yet stretch opposing defenses for Dak Prescott.
James Washington would be a big addition if the Cowboys opt to go that direction.