Name: L’Damian Washington
Position: Wide Receiver
Born: May 10, 1991
The new league year has officially started meaning the players discussed in the series are no longer “future guys”. However, the evaluations continue as we move forward to a player who has overcome the odds his whole life, including his NFL career, former Missouri Tiger wide receiver, L’Damian Washington.
Washington comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers after bouncing around the league with five different teams last season.
At Missouri, Washington came into his own late. After being a long-shot as a 2-star recruit and being redshirted in his first season, Washington saw limited playing time early in his career, but improved his production each year, assuming starting duties as a Junior and becoming the number one receiver in his Senior season. During his senior year, Washington had a breakout season leading the team with 893 receiving yards and finishing second with 10 touchdown catches.
Washington was invited to the NFL scouting combine putting up a 4.38 40 and a 32 inch vertical jump. Despite being projected as a fifth round selection by CBS Sports, Washington went undrafted signing with the Dallas Cowboys.
Washington was only with the Cowboys for a short time as depth at wide receiver and injuries to the defensive line made him expendable. He then moved on to the San Francisco 49ers where he caught one pass in limited playing time during the preseason. Washington was let go by the 49ers before the regular season began. After his release, he bounced around between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns before spending the last month of the season with the Miami Dolphins.
What Does The Tape Say?
Washington has a quick release and can beat the press well. Uses his size and length well as he takes dominant positions when going for the catch. Excellent at reeling in arid and off-target throws. Willing blocker. Good at making catches in traffic. High-motor, does not give up on plays. Solid deep- threat that has the speed and acceleration to get by the defender. Not a natural pass-catcher looks awkward when making catches. Has questionable hands and struggles with consistency. Not elusive after the catch. Doesn’t always finish blocks.
The main concern with Washington is his lean frame and small hands. Washington has mental lapses during his routes and sometimes drops easy passes. Despite his speed, he doesn’t show great agility or elusiveness after the catch. In addition, he may be a willing blocker but he is not a particularly good one and would not be able to perform in bunch sets. Overall does not have good hands.
If there was one player I was rooting for to make the roster it’s Washington. Overcoming both his parents dying at a young age, struggles in high school, being a 2 star recruit at Missouri, being undrafted despite expert projections and bouncing around five teams in his rookie season, I would like to see him make it. That being said, Washington is a long shot due to his struggles with catching the ball and his limited blocking and special teams ability. However, with the Steelers releasing Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey’s status up in the air, there is room on the roster for a receiver in the Steelers organization, especially one with the height of Washington. Still, Washington has some glaring holes in his game that will require work and his ceiling on this roster is likely a 5th option at wide receiver. However, between the receivers on the roster not named Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton or Martavis Bryant, he may have the best shot at making the roster as a developmental receiver. Overall, Washington has a great story and has overcome adversity many times and shows some skills that warrant a training camp invite. He has an outside shot at making the roster, but seems more suitable as a practice squad player.