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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: S Ar’Darius Washington

  • The Draft Network
  • December 31, 2020
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Although a smaller safety prospect, Ar'Darius Washington is a very physical player in all departments of his game. Possessing a fluid backpedal in zone coverage, he has a great eye for passing concepts and the exact plan of attack from offenses. His change of direction/hips are clean when transitioning in and out of his breaks. Washington can turn and run when asked to, even though the Horned Frogs incorporate lots of two-high and three-safety looks on the back end. Physicality as a run supporter shows up often and he’s often been able to save the day as the last line of defense. While not afforded opportunities to play it often except in the red zone, he’s shown to be adequate in man coverage, as he has the smoothness and athleticism to cover slot options. He's got ball skills galore and he attacks the ball out of the air. He's highly competitive at the catch point and many of his turnover opportunities have come from coverage awareness or following the eyes of throwers to take him to intended throwing locations. Washington’s eyes can get caught in the backfield often and he remains glued to play-action fakes for too long. He waits too long to see and diagnose plays, particularly deeper passes. This has resulted in routes getting by him and has left him playing catch up on recovery attempts. His lack of length shows up when attempting to get off blocks and fighting through the trash in order to get to the ball. His lack of height may make some teams hesitant as his measurements are below many previous thresholds for players at the position.

Ideal Role: Developmental free safety.

Scheme Fit: Free safety in zone-heavy scheme.


Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Texas Tech (2020), Baylor (2020), Oklahoma (2020), West Virginia (2020), Oklahoma State (2020), Texas (2020)

Best Game Studied: Texas Tech (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Oklahoma (2020)

Football IQ: Washington exhibits lots of smarts as he has gained experience playing in lots of different locations and coverages. A part of a versatile secondary that asks a lot from its safeties, the complexity has helped him sort through lots of difficult situations, but it also helped him show off his knowledge on the back end. Washington is savvy in multiple ways as a result. 

Tackling: The former TCU safety has the needed attitude to come up and stick his facemask on defenders. He displays plenty of intensity when running the alley, coming to balance, and striking ball carriers. The biggest issues are with his frame and body mass. He has episodes where he bounces off of ball-carriers because of his lack of body density. Too often runners are able to withstand his initial blows because of his body structure.

Versatility: Washington shows the capabilities of playing on the roof of the defense and as the low safety in Cover 3. Having his best results while playing freely and allowed to roam in zone coverage, he’s able to read and react cleanly to the happenings in front of him. Improvements in man-to-man coverage are needed as he has struggles within route stems to maintain control and redirect depending on the desired route paths of pass-catchers. 

Range: The instincts and knowledge are there. He also has the athleticism to reach extended areas. Playing as the roof player in zone coverages was sporadic, but when asked to do so, he proved to have comfort. Learning to trust his instincts and allow quarterbacks to take him to intended targets, he’s aggressive with attacking concepts. 

Ball Skills: He has well-above-average ball skills, as he’s had lots of opportunities at interceptions and been able to display his natural hands as a catcher. He recorded zero interceptions during the 2018 and 2020 seasons, but had a breakout year in 2019 as he collected five interceptions. Washington is a fluid pedaler that can transition out of it and attack the ball in an instant. 

Run Defending: As a run defender, Washington’s tackle box stretches far and wide as he has the speed necessary to reach certain areas. The current negative is how he goes about his tackling techniques once he arrives at ball locations. Often leaving his feet or launching his body, he misses tackles far too often. The sole reasoning behind the misses is his feast-or-famine tactics upon arrival. Fighting through trash can be a challenge for him because of his lack of length and there can be struggles to detach from blocks.

Functional Athleticism: As an athlete at the position, Washington has many traits at the position that come to him naturally. With a controlled backpedal, his feet and eyes are often tied together. Possessing a quick trigger on concepts, he has the athleticism necessary in order to click-close on targets with plenty of quickness. His eagerness has also gotten him into trouble in coverage as he can be too quick to jump on timing-based routes.

Competitive Toughness: Washington has little trouble with mixing it up with the opposition. Despite his smaller frame, he attempts to overcompensate by applying momentum behind his tackle attempts. 

Flexibility: Possessing loose hips combined with an active lower body, Washington exhibits plenty of flexibility to turn and run. His biggest hurdles are redirecting to mirror quick movements of matchups.

Special Teams Value: Washington has special teams experience and potential. As a defensive back, he will be required to be on most special teams. His physicality will be a welcomed and positive addition to many units across the board.


TDN Consensus: 72.25/100

Joe Marino: 72.00/100

Kyle Crabbs: 76.00/100

Jordan Reid: 73.00/100

Drae Harris: 68.00/100

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