Congratulations Cornelius Washington. You just got noticed.

February 26th, 2013 | Written by Kip Earlywine

I tuned into the combine yesterday just in time to catch Cornelius Washington’s vertical jump.  I had no idea who he was.  He was standing there getting ready for his high jump, and I’m just wondering if he might be able to beat Robert Turbin in an arm wrestling contest, because the guy was ripped like an action hero from a comic book.  Within half a second I noticed that Washington stood out athletically, just from his build and muscle tone.  But even thinking to myself that he looked like the best athlete up there, I had no idea he was just about to destroy the combine to the extent that he would.

Washington posted one of the best vertical jumps of all front seven participants:  39″.  He then clocked an official 4.55 forty, which was the best of the entire defensive end group.  Officially listed at outside linebacker, Washington is 6’4″, 265 pounds and has 34″ arms.  He’s clearly more of a defensive end than a linebacker, although he has the movement skills to play either one.  Washington’s 10’8″ broad jump was tied for the best among all defensive ends (Barkevious Mingo, Devin Taylor).  His 10 yard split was 1.60, which was narrowly beaten by several ends but is still considered pretty good.  Washington then left everyone (except Margus Hunt) in the dust with 36 reps on the bench press, a number that was far ahead of the front seven pack.  Washington looked fast during drills.  I personally thought that only Auburn’s Corey Lemonier moved quicker during drills.

Basically, Cornelius Washington just had the combine that everyone thought his teammate (Alec Ogletree) would have.  Actually, it was probably better than even that.

And it didn’t go unnoticed.

…Cornelius Washington, the hybrid linebacker/defensive end from Georgia. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and an even better Senior Bowl game yet he came to Indy as a sixth- or seventh-round player. He can rush the passer and he just ran 4.50.

He is moving up draft boards. One defensive coordinator said, “This is the kind of guy I came to Indy to find. Now I’ll go back and study him. We’re all looking for the Bruce Irvin in this draft.”

Despite playing for a major program like Georgia and being a phenomenal athlete, Washington has registered only 10 total sacks over four seasons at Georgia.  He’s probably been moved around to play linebacker some, which hurts his production, but his tackles and tackles for loss numbers aren’t high either.  Georgia is loaded with pass rusher talent, so it’s not unthinkable that Washington could have been buried on that roster to some degree.

As of today, there aren’t any game compilations of Washington on youtube.  The best I could find was this brief highlight, and also a team highlight reel that probably give you 20-30 snaps with #83 on it.  I guess you could go through Jarvis Jones’ and Alec Ogletree’s videos looking for him too.  In a year where even small school prospects are usually getting compilation videos, Washington doesn’t have one.  Maybe because he’s never really produced enough in a game to merit the effort?

Grading Washington’s draft stock is really hard to do.  Not only is he lacking production, but the games he has played in haven’t given evaluators a ton to go off of.  But that said, he sure looked a hell of a lot like Brian Orakpo today.

Washington (2013):  6’4″, 265, 4.55 forty, 1.60 10-yard-split, 39″ vert, 36 reps on bench press, cartoonishly ripped arms

…….Orakpo (2009):  6’3″, 263, 4.63 forty, 1.58 10-yard split, 39.5″ vert, 31 reps on bench press, cartoonishly ripped arms

I’m really looking forward to getting some tape to look at down the road, I think it’s pretty likely we’ll get access to some before the draft.  Based on how he looked in the drills yesterday and based on what little I saw on youtube, I think he has some promise and the physical gifts do seem to translate at least somewhat.  He has very obvious appeal to the Seahawks, and probably the 31 other NFL teams as well.

34 Responses to “Congratulations Cornelius Washington. You just got noticed.”

  1. Aaron says:

    “looking for the Bruce Irvin in this draft”, you mean a huge reach that could have been drafted in the 3rd round?! I wonder if this comment might help some people realize how stupid that assumption is.

    Also, this guy sounds like he would be a good rotational player/depth for the Leo. But Jacksonville and Dallas would have more of an opportunity to grab him probably. I hate that Seattle’s success is going to make it harder to find players that fit the scheme.

    • Well, at least seven teams had Irvin on their first round board, including the Jets at #16. Irvin led the 2012 rookie class in sacks. He still has plenty of untapped upside as well.

    • Charlie says:

      Soo would you rather be unsuccessful so that we can keep picking scheme players that apparently wouldn’t be doing very well? Seems kinda faulty logic to me

    • Belgaron says:

      If last year’s draft were done again based on first year results, all three of Seattle’s picks would have gone in the first round.

    • shams says:

      If they drafted trolls, you wouldn’t fall out of the first round.

  2. Morgan says:

    I think his lack of stats are the result of a confluence of all those things you mentioned: playing out of position on a deep and talented roster in a scheme he isn’t suited for.

  3. Zach says:

    I wonder if we would have to take him in the second round. Some team will take a shot in the third I am guessing.

  4. Cysco says:

    I love this time of year. A “stud, sure top-10 pick, best linebacker in the draft, athletic freak” like Kevin Ogletree shows serious off-field issues and then underwhelms at the combine and is overtaken by his “out of no where, who is this kid with no production, but off the charts athleticism” teammate.

    Given the current momentum shifts, its is likely that Ogletree will fall to the second round and Williams will go in the first.

    Awesome.

  5. Sawker_Dawg says:

    I watched a bit of Georgia’s bowl game this year on youtube last night trying to see Washington. It took me a while to figure out where he was playing on the line and even longer to realize he was not in on each play. It seemed like he was part of the rotation and moved around positions a la Datone Jones for UCLA. It sure would be nice to have tape just for him as it was difficult to follow him and really see how good he was or wasn’t.

    I wonder how much he was already on Seattle’s radar prior to the combine.

  6. Attyla the Hawk says:

    Washington was a really interesting prospect, and one I thought might be a candidate for us based on his work at the Senior Bowl:

    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/02/senior_bowl_review_cornelius_w.html

    He has extremely modest stat production at UGA. You can see him frequently, when you look at John Jenkins/Kwame Geathers footage. I took a look at him as the Senior Bowl progressed, and the first thing you notice, is that he was used situationally.

    It really looks almost like it’s a scheme thing. They sort of employed him as a DE/SAM situationally. When he did get on the field, it didn’t seem like his role was even as a situational pass rusher. More like a situational Bryant. My impression was, that he was there as an athletic end used scheme-wise to free up Jones/Ogletree on the opposite side.

    At any rate, he really exploded — even more so than Devin Taylor at Mobile, when he was given a chance to demonstrate his ability at a less complementary role.

    I’m guessing he’s probably got a lot to learn. More than a prospect like Irvin from last year. Simply due to the fact that despite playing for 3 years, he just wasn’t tasked to do what we would ask of him. I’m not sure that’s entirely a bad thing, as there aren’t many college programs with a LEO hybrid. Just about any guy we take would have a steep learning curve.

    His physical stature and gifts really look like another ex Bulldog: Chris Clemons. As one would expect, his combine numbers just crush Clemons’ at virtually every level. And that was when Clemons was a 236 lb. linebacker. Physically, he can compete with Clemons. And even though Washington is listed at LB today, he’s currently bigger than Clemons is today.

    He, Quanterus Smith and Trevardo Williams were three candidates that I felt were guys we would target in day 2/3 instead of going the Ziggy Ansah route. There are way too many good LEO candidates late in the draft to even consider Ansah on day one. From a value/draft class perspective Ansah never made sense to me and still doesn’t now.

    Washington shined at the Senior Bowl and we know exactly how much that means to this front office. I would not be shocked in the least to see him as an R2 ‘reach’ pick for us. These combine numbers will make it difficult to expect him to be there in R3, but not impossible. Seattle has consistently preferred to overdraft to ensure they get their guys.

    Stamina will be a concern. We took Irvin who was also a situational guy for WVA, but he was wildly productive in his role. Washington was a situational guy but used to allow UGA’s high profile LBs to shine.

    In the end, I firmly believe Washington has a vast pool of untapped potential. I think it’s simmering just below the surface and I think the Senior Bowl provided a brief glimpse at that. He is a guy that looks like he’ll hold up really well against runs to the weak side. Very much like Clemons is today. Something that Irvin did not demonstrate. He is tall. Very long. Very explosive. He ticks a lot of the Schneider/Carroll prospect boxes.

    • D says:

      Thanks for this. I am sold on drafting this guy just based on potential.

    • Zach says:

      You know Pete and John have this guy rated in the second round considering our need at the position. He is much more suited to the LEO than Irvin.

    • xo 1 says:

      Thanks for the terrific analysis. I’m with you about all the exciting second and third candidates there out there. Given the depth in this draft, I’m confident we can find a promising LEO. I’m less sanguine about the possibility of picking up a pocket collapsing DT. It’s such a difficult position to draft for, but it did seems as if a couple of small college guys flashed potential in addition to the obvious names at the top.

      • Byrd Flew says:

        Playing the “what if” game: If we do decide to draft Washington in the 2nd, who do you think we draft in the first? Is it likely to be Khaseem Greene/WLB, Eifert/Ertz /Offensive weapon for RW3, or BPA?

        • Attyla the Hawk says:

          Hard to say.

          It’s a cop out I know. But I think the OLB pool is a bit weak. I do think we love Khaseem Greene. Even though I know Schneider specifically cited liking the junior LBs, I am left to wonder if that’s not him ‘specifically not answering the question’. The lack of depth would indicate we’d go for that position early. Unless there is an R3+ guy they think is hiding in there then I would think OLB is our R1 choice.

          I like the WR pool. Not the Tavon Austin/just another slot guy types. But the ball skill R2-R4 types. Impressed by Wheaton’s strength. He’s a speed guy that attacks the ball and on tape you can see him playing physical in the run game.

          Been banging Chris Harper’s drum for awhile and his 4.5 40 time was faster than I had hoped. I do believe we want to get a WR this draft without fail. I really can’t say if we’ll go WR in R1/R2. There are worthy prospects in both. But it’s a deep pool and it’s a position where you can have a better (in terms of more prospects) competitive impact on the team by waiting till later to address it.

          i.e.,I believe that the R3/R4 WRs will be more competitive for our team than the R3/R4 LBs. I do think that comes into play.

          And then there is the elephant in the room. The pass rushing 3 tech. That’s what we’re going to NY to get. It is entirely conceivable that we’d rather get a top 5 overall DT prospect, and get NFL average/journeyman talent at OLB and WR this year. These R2/R3/R4 prospects — while we like them and think they’d be good fits — the reality is this defense is functionally deficient without a real 3 tech. I don’t think a Harper/Washington/Greene (altogether) increase our team production as much as a Richardson or Lotulelei alone.

          I believe our 3 tech is our missing piece. I have to think that we’ll secure that missing piece in R1 or R2. And if we do it in R2, it’s only because we see something nobody else sees in one of the later round DTs like a Hughes or Brandon Williams grade guy.

          This is a position I could very easily see being a duplicate of 2012. We might see us take a guy with a late 2nd/3rd round grade on day 1.

          I think TE is just plain out of the question this year in days 1 and 2. Well as out of the question as can be in a Carroll/Schneider world. The value to be had at WR and OLB are just far too good to consider getting a joker TE. That’s not even putting DT need on the table.

          It is possible, that we go DT in R1 and Washington in R2. I’d be ok with that. We don’t know how the Clemons injury will play out beyond 2013. And if we want a productive LEO in 2014, we need Clemons to fully recover and not lose a step to age, or we need to have already drafted a guy in 2013 and have him ready to be fully productive in his 2nd year.

          Our window is open starting now. Seattle simply cannot function at all defensively if our DL remains status quo and we lose Clemons too. I believe our needs at both DT and LEO are dire and immediate. We know Clemons will miss games. We don’t know if he’ll be even close to his former self. And we also don’t know if he’ll suffer degraded performance forever going forward. Addressing either position is worth more than any LB or receiver upgrades in 2013.

          • Phil says:

            Attyla – agree completely re: the threat imposed by Clemons’ injury. My current guess is that we sign a veteran FA outside pass rusher (Osi? Freeney?) to what is hopefully a bargain, short-term contract and then draft a guy to compete for the future LEO spot.

          • Barry says:

            Attyla, -Great points in both reads

    • Nice comment. Nailed it regarding Ansah. I am trying to temper my negativity though, because I could see him as a very real possibility at #25.

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        I’m not exactly down on Ansah. The guy does have athletic talent. His production is pretty bad considering the lousy competition he faced. Obviously he can be hot and cold as evidenced by the Senior Bowl practices and game.

        I just think there are better DE leo types in R3-R6 than there are say pass rushing DTs or WRs or even OLBs. Waiting for DEs in a later round could mean you have a decent LEO prospect and a DT upgrade, instead of a somewhat better LEO prospect and a camp body DT who doesn’t make the cutdown to 53.

        Personally, I am having a hard time getting past his deplorable production against competition that he should have had even flashes of dominance against. There isn’t one instance of ‘Hello!’ all year. Not once game you could put on and see why this guy should be a day one pick.

        I’d put Quanterus Smiths’ game against Alabama against any game in Ansah’s career. Smith is regarded as a mid/late day 3 pick. He had great production over 3 seasons and a signature performance against the best OL in the land. Ansah has none of that.

        Stats aren’t everything but if you’re going to be considered a day one pick, I’d expect it to be based on more than an illusion of future greatness. DE is a position that is stat dependent. It’s not an anonymous position like DT. Pass rushing defensive ends have an incredibly measurable metric. And Ansah doesn’t measure up in that regard.

  7. Eric says:

    Here’s another scouting report on Washington.

    http://nflmocks.com/2012/10/20/cornelius-washington-2013-nfl-draft-scouting-report/

    His workout yesterday was beyond impressive, particularly the 36 reps (that’s some SERIOUS strength/endurance). Physically, he seems like a hybrid of Irvin and Clemons – Bruce’s quickness, Chris’ size. But great athleticism doesn’t guarantee anything. If he can’t stop the run, then I don’t really see the point.

    Like Rob commented in yesterday’s live blog, I too was impressed with Brandon Williams. He has tremendous agility considering his size. I also liked Akeem Spence for the same reason, and I thought both Williams and Spence hustled hard in every drill. I like them in the later rounds.

  8. Bob says:

    Welcome to the first round Washington! Someone will pull the trigger around 15-down I bet.

    • Eric says:

      Not to be contrary, but I’d take that bet. He’s a good prospect with some impressive workout stats, but his game stats do not warrant a 1st round pick.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      Don’t be too quick to fall slobbering drunk onto the bandwagon:

      Found this piece to be particularly funny. It’s on nflmocks.com. I’d link it but it has annoying popups.

      “Against the run, Washington isn’t a project. The term “project” implies he has hope. That’s not the case. Washington is loaded with the physical tools necessary to stop the run, yet, in 4 years at Georgia, has made virtually no progress in this regard. His instincts are horrendous and he can’t use his hands to shed blocks against the run. He has virtually no on field awareness and can’t make arm tackles. He is frequently overpowered at the point of attack and struggles to get a good initial punch. Not to mention, he never really thinks about stopping the run.

      He tries to get outside the tackle on every single play. This is what I call “a blind penetrator.” He tries to get into the backfield as quickly as possible on every play, and, if he does get past his blocker, he usually has no idea where the ball is. Frequently, when he is trying to get outside leverage, his aggressiveness simply results in a huge hole forming in the B gap (between the guard and the tackle) that the running back can hit every time. Either Washington is overaggressive, or he just realizes he sucks at stopping the run and figures he might as well go for the sack on every play. On the bright, Washington has loose hips and solid strength, so he is usually a pretty effective tackler.”

      • JW says:

        lol. that write up is pretty funny.
        yeah, draft history is chalk full of guys who look good in the mirror and jump out of the gym but have no football sense whatsoever. It is very enticing but must be balanced with game tape, for sure. I’d have no qualms with taking him in the later rounds but I’d have to see some awareness on the field to warrant anything before round 4, at this point.

      • What little I saw of him he didn’t look bad against the run at all. Not sure what this guy is talking about. I need to see more though.

        Washington is underdeveloped, particularly regarding his pass rush. He has long, strong arms but doesn’t know how to use them. When he does shed a block though, he make tackles and sacks that hurt to watch (in a good way).

  9. My guess is that Cornelius Washington probably worked himself into mid round consideration. The first and second round tend to be “starter” rounds where teams are much more risk averse. So I really doubt he’d go that high.

    I’m not against drafting him, but the three mid round pass rushers I want the most are Armonty Bryant, John Simon, and Corey Lemonier. I would draft all three if I could.

    I keep going back to study Lemonier and every time I do I like his potential more and more. I thought he really shined during drills as well. He’s a poor run defender, but at 255 pounds I have hope that Dan Quinn could turn that around.

    Bryant has some problems, the kind that scare away GMs who view draft picks as business decisions, but he’s a top 10 type talent physically and is a diamond in plain sight for those willing to look, much like Russell Wilson was a plain to see talent last year that was overlooked for a different variety of risk reasons.

    John Simon has the best pass rusher tape in the draft, and I don’t think it’s even close. In fact, he pushes the pocket more as a 3-tech than any of the big names do, and he did that while weighing 257 pounds. I’d draft him, tell him to pack on weight, and use him as a specialist until he’s big enough to play a regular role. He’s JJ Watt in miniature on tape. Maybe he’s too small or two slow for the NFL, but that’s a risk I want to take.

    • Ray g says:

      I’d be very happy with any of those three. I think the beauty pageant that is the combine tends to diminish the guy who can just play the game. How many times do you see guys with great measurables and combine numbers and mediocre tape get drafted over the “average” athlete who straps it on and makes play after play on Sunday.

    • Morgan says:

      Kip I can’t believe you just wrote that about Simon. I was just watching OSU games yesterday thinking the same thing! Sure his injury has made him miss the Senior Bowl and the combine tests, but why is no one talking about how great Simon looks on gameday?

      • Rob Staton says:

        We’ve talked about him a fair bit on here. Had him in my pre-season top-30 and loved him in 2011, let alone 2012. Great player. I’d draft him in round two.