Trevon Moehrig is the TCU safety who gets the most hype on the 2021 NFL Draft stage. However, his partner on the back end, Ar’Darius Washington, deserves plenty of NFL Draft recognition in his own right. Washington’s size severely limits his projection, but on tape, he forces evaluators to look past his frame, and at his feverish style of play. What is Washington’s stock looking like in the draft, and where would his best fit be?
Ar’Darius Washington NFL Draft Profile
- Height: 5’7 1/2″
- Weight: 178 pounds
- Position: Safety
- School: TCU
- Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Tony Pauline’s Ar’Darius Washington Scouting Report
Positives: Undersized college safety who could be used at cornerback or as a nickel/dime back. Fluid pedaling in reverse, easily flips his hips in transition and displays an explosive burst to the ball out of his plant. Fast in both a straight line and laterally, quickly closes to the action and effectively times pass defenses.
Tracks the pass in the air, displays terrific ball skills, and makes a lot of positive plays. Quickly picks up coverage assignments, flies around the action, and works to make plays. Does not bite on ball fakes. Fires up the field and gives effort defending the run.[sv slug=”drizly”]
Negatives: Small. Struggles in battles and loses out to bigger receivers. Not a stout tackler. Plays faster than his forty time but tested poorly during pro day workouts and ran slow.
Analysis: Washington is an athletic defensive back with terrific ball skills, but he has size limitations. He has the skills and ability to be used in nickel or dime packages at safety or cornerback and won’t be a liability over the slot receiver. Washington also comes with potential as a return specialist.
Ar’Darius Washington Player Profile
There’s always a market for prospects who play sound, solid football. Even undersized prospects can generate interest this way. That’s the route Ar’Darius Washington has been forced to take for a long time.
Washington measures in at less than 5’8″ and less than 180 pounds, and yet, he had an opportunity to carve out a role on the Power Five stage. And he did so successfully.
Washington originated as a three-star recruit out of Shreveport, Louisiana. He was a lower-ranked three-star recruit, but he still managed to linger inside the Top 50 at the safety position and was also the 17th-ranked player in his state.
Washington had an offer from the hometown team — the LSU Tigers — as well as potential bids for more playing time with teams like Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, and UTSA. Washington originally committed to LSU, but flipped over to the TCU Horned Frogs late in the process.
Ar’Darius Washington’s career as a TCU safety
Washington arrived at TCU in 2018. However, his first season with the Horned Frogs would be a redshirt year. Washington played in just two games, and only managed to earn 3 tackles. In 2019, Washington’s role increased, and he ascended into the starting lineup, along with fellow upstart safety Trevon Moehrig.
Washington earned Freshman All-American honors in his first full season, amassing 46 total tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, and 2 pass deflections. His production also earned him Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
In 2020, the TCU safeties returned as one of the most feared defensive tandems in the Big 12 conference. Moehrig would receive more national recognition in 2020, but Washington still produced.
The TCU safety put up 37 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, and 4 pass deflections in ten starts. In late December, Washington announced his intention to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft as a redshirt sophomore, thus officially leaving the college football stage behind.
Ar’Darius Washington’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Diagnostically, Ar’Darius Washington was quietly one of the top safeties in college football over the past two seasons. However, mere collegiate production is far from the only thing that goes into draft evaluation.
As a safety, Washington has the mental tools to succeed. Additionally, he showed the ability to play bigger than his frame at the college level. Nevertheless, his measurements will generate pause among scouts. He may slip to Day 3 for that reason.
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According to NFL Draft Analyst Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Score system, Washington only logged a 4.08 unofficial RAS at his TCU Pro Day. Washington’s size heavily weighed down his score, but the TCU safety also didn’t test with great speed. At his size, he logged only a 4.61 40-yard dash time. Washington did put up great explosiveness numbers — a 37.5-inch vertical and a 127-inch broad jump, respectively.
Moreover, in recent years, explosiveness has proven to be more valuable for safeties than sheer speed. Still, his uninspiring size-speed combination will likely turn off certain teams, limiting his opportunities early on.
Which teams might present a viable opportunity for Washington?
In spite of his unorthodox makeup, Washington can play. He’s smooth and fluid in man coverage, and he’s quick and instinctive in zone coverage. He has enough range and ball skills to line up at free safety, but he can also move around and file into the slot if needed.
Washington molds his game after Tyrann Mathieu, and it shows. He’s smart, physical, explosive, and versatile. Even if he doesn’t have the desired size or the desired speed for his size, he has the traits to fill a playmaking role in the right defense.
On Day 3, for a team that needs a high-upside player with impressive instincts, Washington is a safe choice, and potentially a steal. He’d file well as a chess piece into secondaries like Washington’s, Atlanta’s, and New England’s.
He also has the mentality and physicality to translate well to special teams early in his career. Nevertheless, where Washington goes ultimately boils down to one question. Who’s willing to look past his size, and give him a chance based on his tape?
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