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Contextualizing James Washington’s College Red Zone Targets

I received a few emails recently asking me if I knew what kind of red zone threat new Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington will be in the NFL. That’s really a great question and in an effort to answer it, I figured I should contextualize every red zone target Washington had during his four years at Oklahoma State.

In his four years at Oklahoma State, my research shows that Washington was targeted inside the red zone a total of 41 times. Those targets resulted in 18 receptions for 149 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, it’s worth noting that two of Washington’s red zone touchdown receptions came via end-around plays that included him catching the football behind the original line of scrimmage via a short flip forward from the quarterback. Those two “touchdown receptions” accounted for 10 of his 149 receiving yards.

Washington was targeted quite often inside the red zone via fade routes to the right side of the field. That route, however, only resulted in three touchdown receptions on 14 targets. It’s worth noting, however, that a few of those incompleted fade routes to the end zone were the result of a nice play by a defender. Additionally, Washington actually caught four other of those attempts but did so just out of bounds. A few other incompletions on the end zone fade route attempts were poor throws and thus uncatchable. Another one was intercepted.

The other primary red zone targets Washington had during his Oklahoma State career came via quick slants or deep post routes. He also scored a red zone touchdown in 2017 off of a screen play.

On the whole, Washington was a productive red zone target during his career at Oklahoma State but it’s worth noting that you never really saw him leap very high in all of these targets. In case you forgot, Washington’s vertical jump at this year’s scouting combine was just 34.5-inches.

While Washington is likely to register some red zone touchdowns during his NFL career, I firmly believe that most of his scoring will come via deeper routes. I don’t think you’ll see him targeted on end zone fades quite often as a member of the Steelers

GM QRT TME DWN DST LOS RES YDS DIR DST YAC CONTEXT
2014 4 5:35 1 5 UTSA 5 I 0 NA NA 0 NA
2014 3 3:32 2 2 ISU 10 I 0 NA NA 0 NA
2014 1 11:37 1 10 KSU 18 C 5 4 4 1 Short curl right side
2014 4 9:09 1 8 TEX 8 C 8 3 -4 12 Flip forward end-around TD
2015 1 3:17 1 7 UTSA 7 I 0 5 13 0 Fade right EZ PBU
2015 1 2:36 3 7 UTSA 7 I 0 5 12 0 Fade right EZ PBU
2015 2 1:02 1 10 KSU 14 C 3 5 3 0 Out route right side
2015 3 9:36 1 4 WVU 4 I 0 5 8 0 Fade right side caught OOB
2015 1 12:19 1 3 KU 3 I 0 5 10 0 Fade right side caught OOB
2015 2 7:22 1 8 KU 8 C 8 5 12 0 Fade right side one-handed TD catch
2015 2 15:00 1 10 ISU 11 I 0 3 15 0 MOF slant in EZ too high
2015 4 11:50 1 10 ISU 16 I 0 5 8 0 Comeback right side juggled OOB
2015 4 5:07 3 15 BAY 19 C 19 4 15 4 In-breaking underneath TD
2015 4 1:48 1 5 BAY 5 I 0 2 10 0 Switch route rub fade uncatchable
2015 3 2:18 2 14 MISS 19 I 0 5 22 0 Deep corner route in EZ uncatchable
2016 3 3:51 1 10 CMU 17 I 0 3 22 0 Deep post in EZ PBU
2016 4 6:38 1 5 CMU 5 IN 0 5 11 0 Fade in right EZ off target INT
2016 4 5:41 2 5 CMU 6 I 0 5 13 0 Fade in right EZ off target
2016 4 5:18 4 1 CMU 2 C 2 3 -4 6 Flip forward end-around TD
2016 4 13:49 2 14 BAY 16 I 0 5 20 0 Fade in right EZ PBU
2016 4 15:00 1 3 ISU 3 I 0 5 10 0 Fade in right EZ caught OOB
2016 4 3:43 1 3 ISU 3 C 3 5 7 0 Back shoulder EZ fade TD
2016 4 9:43 3 7 KU 7 I 0 4 16 0 Deep post in EZ through hands
2016 2 4:35 2 19 KSU 19 I 0 3 19 0 Deep post to goal-line too high
2016 2 3:50 2 3 KSU 3 C 3 3 12 0 Skinny post TD back of EZ
2016 1 6:48 1 10 TTU 19 C 10 5 -3 13 WR screen right side
2016 1 6:32 1 9 TTU 9 I 0 5 14 0 Fade in right EZ juggled caught OOB
2016 2 4:39 3 4 TCU 8 C 3 4 3 0 Quick out right right side
2016 1 11:44 2 8 COLO 17 C 6 4 5 1 Quick curl right side
2016 2 7:05 1 5 COLO 5 C 5 4 4 1 Quick slant right side TD
2017 1 11:22 1 10 TTU 14 C 14 SIR 14 0 Quick slant to right for TD
2017 1 5:25 1 10 TTU 19 I 0 SWR 7 0 Flushed out INC right sideline
2017 1 5:16 2 10 TTU 19 C 10 SM 4 6 Quick slant from left
2017 3 11:12 1 G TTU 9 I 0 SM 11 0 Quick slant behind WR in EZ
2017 2 15:00 1 10 BAY 20 I 0 SIR 0 0 Low WR screen right tight coverage
2017 1 7:26 3 5 WVU 13 C 13 SIL 0 13 WR screen left for TD
2017 4 12:28 2 1 WVU 15 I 0 DWR 18 0 Right fade to EZ in hands PBU
2017 4 8:27 2 12 WVU 19 C 19 DWR 20 0 Right fade TD
2017 1 8:24 1 10 OKLA 15 I 0 SM 6 0 Forced to underneath sitdown
2017 2 14:33 1 10 OKLA 16 C 10 SWR -1 11 WR screen left side
2017 4 9:01 2 7 KSU 8 C 8 SM 12 0 Slant route MOF EZ TD
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