Well, this is the first time I've had a request for a scouting review of a potential recruit in particular. But when an assistant NFL position coach and former Hokie great- Todd Washington- asks you to take a look at a prospect, well, here I am. Of course, I agreed without seeing the name attached to that particular tape- the link didn't have the name in it when I examined it. Imagine my surprise when I actually could click on it and look. So, on we go with my review of said recruit: I am going to do a tape review of Cameron Washington, Todd's son.
Cameron Washington (Virginia Beach, VA. 230lbs, 6'-4". Defensive End)
A class of 2017 end or guard- though he often plays on the interior of the defensive line, and plays at long snapper- Washington has plenty of football frame. He's built in a way that you can definitely see him capable of going up or down in weight and shifting positions at the next level.
I think when he lines up on the inside, it's not a great matchup for him. He's not supremely fast to the quarterback- he's more of a bull rush artist than a refined interior pass rusher with a toolkit of moves. Not many people put at defensive tackle are; it's difficult to fight three people. However, I think he does a good job of setting the edge when put at true DE, and he definitely has some brute strength. I'd like to see him try to lengthen out his stance a bit just to prevent from being so balled up- how you start in your stance as a lineman dictates the direction and speed you're launching at your opponents with. When he's hunched up, it gives him less explosive power on the drive steps. If I played him to get into the pass rush, I'd see him more as a wide nine technique where he could use that length. I do like how he's a superior special teams player and offers versatility, along with length that can give some pass deflections up the middle. He does seem to see the plays well and pursues and tackles fine, I just think that the odd high school coach proclivity for having the thinner ‘quick guys' inside doesn't do him a lot of justice or give him room to excel.
I can see a couple of options for him progressing:
- With his frame, I'd like to see some looks of him out of the backfield as an H-back type. I think he's got the strength and enough athleticism to be successful tight end if he worked on his speed. Let's get some eyes on his hands tape and how he runs routes.
- I'd like to see him get out of the middle and see more one-on-one matchups on the outside. He's undersized in there and generally would get double teamed (Though that's a blocking theory lecture for another day- double team the weaker guy and hope to take the big guy one on one to really exploit a mismatch, or double team the strong guy in order to neutralize a potential weakeness). Either way, he's not currently equipped to beat a potential double team.
- Why not stand him up completely and use him as a middle linebacker? With his height he'd be a passing lane problem up the middle. He seems to have a head for the game, let's get him away from blockers and see how he could do running downhill in space from the Mike position.
- This goes for almost all high-school defensive ends, but I'd like to see at least one or possibly two moves to disengage with blockers- rip, swim, spin, or some other combination of all of them. I've suggested before learning some sort of martial art before to learn more about hand placement away from football- just the art of punching and chopping and getting your hands in and out of a body quickly- could be helpful, if unconventional.
I think Cameron's closest comparison right now is probably Darius Fullwood in terms of tape. I think Fullwood was more developed to be a DE and had more time at the position, but you can see the frame similarities. It's just a matter of learning to harness that size and edge up the explosiveness. I see talent there, but there's a disconnect between the athletic abilities he has, the skills he shows, and the positions he's often asked to play.