With his scouting report, where does Penn State WR Parker Washington rank in the 2023 NFL Draft pass catcher class? An early declaration, Washington has the production and the pedigree. And in the right role, he could go on to deliver on the promise he’s shown to this point.
Parker Washington NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Penn State
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 5’10”, 212 pounds
- Length: TBD
- Wingspan: TBD
- Hand: TBD
Penn State might not be “WRU,” but it’s one of the runner-ups, at the very least. In the past decade, Nittany Lions products like Allen Robinson, K.J. Hamler, Chris Godwin, and Jahan Dotson all went on to find success in the NFL. And Washington will be the next one soon enough.
Washington’s ascent was one that many have come to expect from Nittany Lions receivers. He immediately entered the rotation as a true freshman, after signing with Penn State as a four-star recruit. After accruing 36 catches for 486 yards and six scores in 2020, Washington expanded on those totals with a 64-820-4 stat line in 2021.
Though he didn’t quite take the jump some expected with Dotson heading to the NFL, Washington still put up respectable numbers in 2022. Playing in 10 games, he logged 46 catches for 611 yards and two additional scores.
Upon declaring, Washington filed into a WR class that’s been lamented for its lack of elite talent and nebulous middle-round group. But as others before him have proven, uncertainty breeds opportunity. Perhaps Washington could be one of several in this class to exceed his draft billing and become a productive NFL starter.
Parker Washington Scouting Report
- Extremely dense, compact receiver at 5’10”, 212 pounds, with physicality and finesse.
- Frame affords him elite contact balance in the open field, bouncing off tackle attempts.
- Not only bounces off contact but is a force to bring down even when wrapped up.
- Has the baseline fleet-footed explosiveness to stack defenders out of releases.
- Has great lateral twitch and quickness in short areas, which he can use to offset.
- Possesses hyper-elite catching instincts, with rare control, timing, and tracking ability.
- Has extraordinary hand-eye coordination and consistently catches away from his frame.
- Smooth and fluid vertical route runner who can use head fakes and work blind spots.
- Has the hip flexibility to sustain speed through cuts and pinch angles attacking space.
- Combination of agility and contact balance forms an excellent RAC framework.
Areas for Improvement
- Explosiveness is visibly non-elite, which can limit separation out of stems at times.
- Lack of elite explosiveness and long speed limits his ability to stack DBs downfield.
- At times, doesn’t have the requisite burst to reach the outside on designed plays.
- Doesn’t have overwhelming length, which slightly limits catch radius.
- Doesn’t have elite stopping ability at stems and can key in DBs with extra steps.
- Is a bit underdeveloped vs. press with combined slot and stack release experience.
- Can be more streamlined and efficient with weight transfers in and out of stems.
- Occasionally suffers from focus drops when extending far beyond his frame.
- Can be jarred by contact and physicality over the middle of the field.
- Consistently overshoots angles as a blocker and isn’t always able to recover.
Penn State WR Parker Washington Current Draft Projection
Washington is one of the most unique WR prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. On my board, he grades just inside the top 100. Likewise, the 21-year-old rookie should receive mid-to-late Day 2 consideration from NFL clubs.
Putting Washington through the three-level framework at WR, the Penn State star passes with flying colors in two areas: At the catch point and after the catch. Washington has truly rare catching instincts, with absurd body control and coordination extending beyond his frame. And at 212 pounds, he has elite contact balance — both against direct hits and when working through arm tackles.
There’s a clear role at the next level for Washington with his traits, but also some clear limitations. He’s never going to be a field stretcher, as he visibly lacks elite explosiveness and speed. He’s also a relatively inefficient route runner at this point. There are flashes of promise in that phase, but he has room to both refine and expand his arsenal and release package.
Even with those limitations, Washington perfectly fits the mold of a big slot receiver. He has enough nuance to utilize that space effectively as a separator, and once he has the ball with space, he’s a bear to take down for opposing defenses. And when you need him to make a tough catch to move the chains, he can do that as well. A strong rotational add with above-average starting upside, Washington can be a valuable weapon at the next level.
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