Cornelius Washington DE Georgia #83
Size/Athleticism: Incredibly athletic for his size. Has a great blend of size and speed. Built like a prototypical edge rusher.
Run Defense: Among the best prospects in this draft at making plays in pursuit. He sheds blocks fairly consistently and flies to the ball. He makes a lot of impressively athletic plays, diving at the ball carrier to track him down from behind. He does a great job weaving through traffic and moves through it like a much smaller linebacker.
Pass Rush: Washington is an explosive pass-rusher off the edge, who can fly past slow-footed offensive linemen. His first step is at an elite level, and he consistently beats slower tackles off the snap. He also has a decent bull rush, and can battle with more physical lineman and shed blocks.
Versatility: Played a mixture of end and linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 defense, but he’s clearly best suited to play linebacker in the 3-4 scheme or end in the 4-3. Occasionally drops in coverage and has the athleticism to stay with some tight ends, although his technique needs work, especially his footwork in his backpedal. He gets tangled up in himself and won’t be able to stay with many tight ends at the next level without refining his technique.
Intangibles: Never a full-time starter. Despite seeing playing time throughout his four years, he was never a regular member of the starting lineup. Arrested for a DUI during his junior year and suspended for two games.
Durability: Limited by a hamstring injury during offseason which prevented him from working out at pro day. Missed 2009 spring practices with shoulder injury. Suffered a concussion during his sophomore year.
Comments: Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is an excellent coach who has transformed the Bulldogs defense, so why didn’t he play Washington more? Given his documented off-field issue (DUI arrest), it’s impossible not to wonder if there’s something going on behind the scenes that the general public doesn’t know about. But based purely on raw talent, Washington has as much upside as any pass-rusher in this draft class.