What can the Cowboys expect from the 5th year pass catcher?
Welcome to the first addition of “Managing Expectations“. Over the course of this series we will be examining the newest additions to the Cowboys’ roster and setting realistic expectations based on the data. The focus of the inaugural entry of the series will be veteran wide receiver James Washington.
On paper Washington is a dynamic receiver with both speed and athleticism. In fact Washington was recognized as the most outstanding receiver in College Football in 2017, winning the Fred Biletnikoff award for his monster season; logging 1549 yards and 13 TDS on the year.
Washington also added to his draft value during his pro day by showing off his elite athleticism, posting a 39 inch vertical and a 4.47 40 time. This paired with his production at Oklahoma State, 39 touchdowns and 4472 yards, helped elevate Washington to a 2nd round pick during the 2018 Draft.
While Washington was able to carve out the reputation of being one of the best receivers in college football he has not been able to produce the same impact in the pros. Over the course of his 4 year stint with the Pittsburg Steelers Washington has only managed 1629 yards and 11 TDS in 60 games.
In fact over the last two seasons Washington has failed to reach 400 yards receiving, ending the 2020 season with a 392 yards and 5 TDs and the 2021 season with 285 yards and 2 TDs.
While he has struggled in recent years Washington did have a solid year as a 3rd option in 2019 posting career highs in starts, receptions, receiving yards, and yards per catch.
Due to the injury of Michael Gallup and the inexperience of Jalen Tolbert Washington MAY see an increased workload to start the season depending on his performance during training camp. This period will determine rather Tolbert or Washington starts the season as the 3rd receiver and will be an interesting situation to track as training camp progresses.
While Washington has all of the physical tools to succeed he has not been a reliable receiver up to this point of his career. My realistic projection for Washington is 390 yards and 2 TDs on the season based on his previous production.
Career averages: 407 yards & 2 TDs per season