Penn State Football WR Parker Washington an NFL Draft Hidden Gem

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Penn State Nittany Lions Wide Receiver Parker Washington (3) runs with the ball after making a catch during the first half of the College Football game between the Auburn Tigers and the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 18, 2021, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Every year there are a few hidden gems of the NFL draft. This year, it’s Penn State Football wide receiver Parker Washington.

Washington is a 5-foot-10 slot receiver who is built like a running back and has mittens for hands. He has the fourth largest hand size among wide receivers in the NFL draft (10 1/8).

Not only does Washington bring the ball in 71.4% of the time (in 2022), but he also has the athletic ability post-catch to make guys miss with his high-level contact balance and lateral quickness.

Last year for the Nittany Lions, Washington brought in 46 receptions for 611 yards at 13.3 yards per reception. Out of those 611 total yards, 291 of those were yards after the catch. Washington has a unique ability to bounce off tacklers like he’s a bowling ball rolling down a lane with bumpers.

— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) April 19, 2023



Washington runs a wide range of routes, comebacks, digs, outs, post, corners, fades, back shoulders, but his two most common routes are drags and slants from the slot.

In 2022, he had 10 slant targets on 22 routes for 159 yards, 66 air yards at 15.9 yards per target with an 11.77 EPA. For drags, he had 5 targets on 12 routes run for 50 yards at 10 yards per target and a 2.83 EPA.

When watching a receiver who doesn’t have elite top-end speed, everything else becomes critical during evaluation.

Washington shows pretty good attributes across the board. His route running, ball tracking, catching and ball skills immediately jump out on tape.

— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) April 19, 2023

Washington can attack a defender’s blind spot when making his way up field, and he also positions himself well at the catch point. He’s a physical wide receiver that doesn’t shy away from contact throughout the play.

According to Sports Info Solutions, on 15+ air yards receptions, Washington was targeted 17 times on his 17 routes run and had six receptions for 168 yards, averaging 21 yards per game. He has zero drops on those deep throws and a 75% on-target catch percentage.

NFL teams will be able to rely on him in the deep part of the field when asked to win a 50/50 ball.

But, where Washington becomes special is once he has the ball in his hands. He’s able to sink his hips, lower his pad level and focus on his center of gravity while continuing to chop his feet. Once he catches the ball, he is instantly moving north and south. He effective most in the middle part of the field with an ability to move through traffic and break multiple tackles post catch, this is why 47.6% of his yards are after the catch.

Penn State’s Parker Washington is tough to bring down

— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) April 19, 2023

Penn State Football WR Parker Washington’s Best NFL Fits

Any NFL team that is looking for a reliable slot target should be interested in Parker Washington.

He has the route running ability, hands, contact balance and lateral movements to become a quarterback’s best friend at the next level.

Washington is the type of receiver who will succeed mostly from within the 0-10 yard line, but can also surprise some defenses when asked to become a deep threat. He won’t blow defenders away with his speed, so he won’t be asked to fill the #1 ‘X’ receiver position, but reliability is more his forte.

Parker Washington is a Day 3 hidden gem that we should see come off the board early-on.

Some teams that would be a fit for Washington’s play style: Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Commanders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks.

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