Packers 2018 draft prospect profile: WR James Washington

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28: Wide receiver James Washington
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28: Wide receiver James Washington /

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported there is a legitimate chance the Green Bay Packers lose both veteran wide receivers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, this offseason. Could this mean they draft a wideout with the 14th pick?

Both wideouts are scheduled to nearly make a combined $20 million in 2018 before becoming unrestricted free agents.

Nelson’s 2017 campaign started off with promise, but once Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, Nelson was nearly invisible on the field. With Brett Hundley leading the offense, Nelson did not find the end zone once.

He struggled to create any separation and was slow off the line of scrimmage. It was the first time since 2012 (not including the 2015 season he missed because of a torn ACL) that he did not surpass the 1,000-yard mark. In 15 games, he caught 53 passes for 482 yards and six touchdowns.

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Even when Rodgers returned against the Carolina Panthers, Nelson struggled.

Cobb on the other hand, had much better chemistry with Hundley. He finished the season with 66 receptions, 653 yards and four touchdowns.

The last time Green Bay drafted a receiver in the first round was Javon Walker in 2002. In four seasons with the Packers, he recorded only one 1,000-yard season.

Green Bay may be reluctant to pull the trigger, but if they do Oklahoma State wideout James Washington could be their guy.

Washington finished his career as a Cowboy with 226 receptions, 4,472 yards and 39 touchdowns.

In his final season, he was a consensus All-American and the recipient of the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the most outstanding receiver in the nation. He became the second Oklahoma State Cowboy to ever win the award, Justin Blackmon was presented the accolade in 2010 and 2011.

Washington led the nation in receiving yards and was fourth in receiving touchdowns.

Let’s take a deeper look into Washington and his pro potential.


According to, Washington quickness and ability to avoid contact stands out. He typically is able to use his speed to get around defensive backs, rather than attempting to go through them with his strength.

At 6-foot, he has a knack for adjusting for the ball while it is in the air and tracking it down. His 19.8 career yards per reception, proves that he is a downfield threat.


Despite dominating the Big-12 Conference, playing in the  Big-12 Conference attributes to his weaknesses.

The Big-12 is notorious for high-scoring games with little defense played. This past season there wasn’t a single Big-12 school in the top-20 for total defense. The first team to crack the list was Iowa State at 26th.

According to, Washington was rarely challenged by press coverage and needs to improve his footwork.

At the next level, aggressive defensive backs will take advantage of these flaws and it will be hard for Washington to replicate his college success in the NFL.

Draft Projection

Washington’s draft day projection has varied. currently projects him as a second-round pick.

On the contrary, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso has the Packers selecting Washington in his latest mock draft and went as far as comparing him to Greg Jennings.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock believes Washington is the fourth-best receiver in this year’s draft.

Despite some uncertainty, the overall consensus seems Washington will be taken in the first round.

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Washington will have a chance to improve his draft stock and solidify himself as a first-round pick with a strong performance at the NFL Combine.