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    Tahj Washington’s Draft Profile | USC, WR Scouting Report

    Tahj Washington was a great YAC producer at USC in 2023. Does his scouting report suggest he is being overlooked at WR approaching the 2024 NFL Draft?

    Trying to make a name for yourself playing with arguably the top overall prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, Caleb Williams, and the son of Jerry Rice, Brenden Rice, can make it a bit difficult to garner the attention you deserve for excellent play, but USC WR Tahj Washington is certainly a very intriguing player entering the professional ranks in his own right.

    Does Washington’s scouting report suggest he can be an effective slot receiver in the NFL?

    Tahj Washington’s Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 5’10”
    • Weight: 174 pounds
    • Hand: 8 3/8”
    • Arm: 29 1/8”
    • Position: WR
    • School: USC
    • Current year: Redshirt Senior

    Washington was a standout prep performer in the state of Texas during his high school days with 1,123 yards from scrimmage and 15 TDs on 74 total touches in his senior year before committing to Memphis to start his college career.

    After a great 2020 campaign with the Tigers — which consisted of 43 receptions for 743 yards six TDs with an additional 11 yards and a score on the ground — Washington decided to take his talents to USC.

    Despite playing with NFL-caliber talents Jordan Addison and Rice during his time in Southern California, Washington still managed to be productive in all three years wearing a Trojans uniform. He caught a minimum of 50 passes each season, leading to totals of 163 receptions, 2,449 yards, and 15 TDs over his tenure with USC.

    Washington’s Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Underrated YAC threat who regularly turns out extra yardage as a ball carrier; natural elusiveness and plus-level creativity in the open field.
    • Fluid route runner who attacks leverage, varies his tempo, and hits defenders with rocker/bam/pressure steps at the top of his stem to create separation operating out of the slot.
    • Engaged run blocker who showcases willingness to battle against bigger defenders.
    • Patient route runner who is willing to throw in an extra step or two at the top of his stem to bait defenders into prematurely flipping their hips before engaging in his trigger step at the breakpoint.
    • Plus-level awareness when working against zone; throttles down in soft spots instead of running to get covered.
    • Quickness and suddenness are his biggest strengths as an athlete; these traits regularly show up in his movement both with and without the ball.
    • Surprising contact balance for an undersized, thinner receiver.
    • Hips are fluid and can snap down with ease when getting in and out of sharp breaks.
    • Strong hands with plus-level ball-tracking abilities make for a very reliable target; only one credited drop in 2023.
    • Expansive route tree which will require minimal development entering the league.
    • While he may not possess the traits to operate outside, he wore many hats at USC outside of lining up in the slot, including snaps at H-back and running back.

    Weaknesses

    • Could struggle to release vs. press man coverage consistently at the NFL level against longer, physical corners who stay patient and land their jab.
    • While his intentions are of the right mindset, he can be a bit too blatant with his attempts to set picks/rubs to get other receivers open, which will get flagged regularly at the NFL level.
    • Quicker-than-fast prospect; top speed is unlikely to threaten NFL-caliber athletes vertically.
    • Catch radius and contested-catch output could be limited in the NFL with size and length deficiencies in his athletic profile.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    Washington is a rather polished receiving prospect entering the league with very few technical weaknesses to his game, but his physical profile caps his potential ceiling and effectiveness at the next level.

    He does his best work out of the slot, and it will be his calling card to making an NFL roster. His route-running IQ, plus-level playmaking ability as a YAC threat, and excellent hands give him a chance to contribute to an NFL offense in 11-personnel sets that could use a reliable slot option. However, it is unclear how much he’ll be able to offer past that role with a limited catch radius and average vertical speed.

    His football integrity is certainly there across the board; despite his well-rounded skill set entering the league, he likely projects as a Day 3 prospect whose best path to a lengthy career in the NFL will be primarily in the slot with some upside as a potential contributor in the screen, quick, and manufactured-touch game.

    Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

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