Parker Washington NFL Draft Scouting Report
WR, Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State wide receiver Parker Washington projects as a slot receiver, offensive weapon, and key special teamer at the NFL level. Washington’s best qualities are his return ability, his hands, and his contact balance to absorb blows in space and continue working for added yardage. Any NFL team looking to find a crafty player with the ball in his hands should consider Washington in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Originally a 4-star recruit, Washington committed to the Nittany Lions out of Fort Bend Travis HS in Richmond, Texas as a member of the recruiting class of 2020. Washington spurned offers from other Big Ten powers like Wisconsin & Nebraska, plus Utah in order to sign Penn State. Washington posted a SPARQ score in excess of 120 as a recruit, highlighted by a 38-inch vertical leap. He would then go on to finish second on the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns as a true freshman in 2020. Across three years at Penn State, Washington has been a critical component of the passing game. He is cousins with NFL quarterback Joshua Dobbs—offering an NFL family bloodline to his resume as well.
Washington has clear and evident natural talent. He has ball skills that are well developed beyond his years and pairs that with slippery mobility, strong acceleration, and a creative running style with and without the football. Washington has experience in a slew of alignments but his best work and highest volume have come from the slot. His ability to take throws in stride and play off contact for RAC is accentuated by how dense he is as a player—he’s built like Amari Rodgers from Clemson several years back and carries his weight like a running back. But the story with Washington that will garner the most attention is the ball skills—he hauled in incredible one-handed catches throughout the course of his career; suggesting there’s a dormant more polished and versatile receiver than the one he was able to showcase himself as at Penn State. Add in good slipperiness and lateral agility plus very good contact balance and the pathway to being a challenging receiver to defend is evident for Washington as he continues to grow.
Yet it hasn’t fully been pieced together for Washington to date and he likely hit his glass ceiling in Happy Valley. He’s been a consistent presence since arriving at Penn State but he has yet to serve as a consistent high-volume target through three seasons of play. As is, I think Washington is still a bit of a mystery in the dynamics of being a top target—playing outside alignments more frequently and defeating press coverage on the outside being at the top of the list. Additionally, his stature and build could be a barrier to consistently winning outside unless he becomes a refined technician, so there are some unquestioned answers that he won’t have fully declared an answer for ahead of his transition to the pros.
Expectations for Washington should be rooted in how many different roles he can claim for an NFL offense quickly. I would expect he will get a chance to claim a return specialist role after returning punts in 2022 and adding that to his resume. While he has promising physical skills in the receiving game, I would expect he will require time to acclimate to a pro offense and as such he is more likely to be a developmental player than an immediate impact starter.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Effective run-after-catch weapon and strong contact balance
- Strong hands and contested catch ability have created some surreal plays on the ball
- Special teams potential is present to carve out an active roster spot
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Needs growth to win as a true NFL route-runner
- Untraditional wide receiver build
- Questions about ceiling as a player will linger amid consistent complementary role in the offense
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 5′ 10”
Weight: 204 lbs
Arm Length: 29”
Hand Size: 10 1/8”
Athletic Testing (NFL Combine):
40-yard Dash: TBD
Vertical Jump: TBD
Broad Jump: TBD
Bench Reps: 16 reps
Ideal Role: Depth receiver (slot) and designated kick returner
Scheme Fit: RPO heavy offense
Prospect Comparison: Amari Rodgers (2020 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 74.50/100 (Fourth-Round Value)
- Crabbs Grade: 74.50/100
Written By: Kyle Crabbs
Exposures: Arkansas (2021), Auburn (2022), Michigan (2022), Ohio State (2022), Minnesota (2022)
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