2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ar’Darius Washingtonby Mason Thompson February 5, 2021 8 comments
The safety position has seen a bit of a demise in terms of first-round talent. This year, there are plenty of players vying for the top safety spot in the draft. One player not being talked about enough is Ar’Darius Washington. Washington paired up with Trevon Moehrig (you can read our scouting report on Moehrig here) to form a formidable safety duo for TCU in 2019 and 2020. The two were the top-two safeties in the country, according to PFF. Moehrig is getting most of the media’s attention, while Washington is hardly getting attention as a day-two prospect.
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Name: Ar’Darius Washington
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Weight: 179 lbs
Coverage Skills (8.25/10)
For a safety, Washington is excellent in man coverage. He is sticky in this regard and can be trusted to go one-on-one with slot and outside receivers. In zone coverage, Washington is good. He has a good backpedal and has a keen eye for knowing the passing concepts that offenses are running.
Ball Skills (9.5/10)
Washington has elite ball skills. He didn’t record a single interception during his 2018 and 2020 seasons, but don’t let that fool you. Washington had an excellent stat-stuffing 2019 season where he had five interceptions. He has an excellent ability to read the quarterback’s eyes and use that to his advantage. Washington is a natural hands catcher as well.
Change of Direction (8.75/10)
Washington can turn in and out of his breaks very quickly. He can turn and run in the blink of an eye to get to the ball or receiver.
Quick hips. Washington can easily turn and run to the ball, and he does a great job of mirroring the receiver he is tasked with covering, whether that be in man or zone coverage.
Run Support (7/10)
Washington has great speed, which allows him to make tackles all across the field. He is an avid run defender that is always looking to make a play on the ball to cause a turnover. Washington has some issues in this regard due to his small frame. There were occasions in 2020, specifically against Oklahoma, where Washington would get run over by a running back. Washington could also afford to work on some of his angles. There were plenty of times where he wouldn’t be in a position to make the tackle.
Washington is an intense tackler. There were plenty of occasions where he would lay out the ball-carrier. Washington isn’t afraid to throw his body on the line to help his team out by making a tackle. He strikes the ball-carrier with ease, though he likes to throw his body around to make the tackle.
Despite his small stature, Washington covers ground quickly thanks to his speed. He trusts himself and primarily relies on the quarterback’s eyes, which he baits them into throwing a bad ball. Washington played primarily next to Moehrig at TCU, and the two were the best safety tandem in the country by a wide margin. Due to that, Washington hasn’t played as a single-high safety often. Thankfully, he has all of the tools to make it work as a single-high safety.
Washington can play free or strong safety. Thanks to his tackling ability, he can work in the box or as the last line of the defense. He can play in both man and zone coverages as well.
Football IQ (8/10)
Washington has a lot of smarts. This comes from playing in different coverages and spots in the secondary. He has a keen ability to read and react to what the quarterback and receivers do in front of him. Unfortunately, he may rely too much on that. There were plenty of times where Washington’s eyes are keyed in on the backfield, and he allows a receiver to get by him for a big gain.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
Washington isn’t afraid to lay the lumber when he tackles. He makes up for his lack of size with his athleticism and aggressiveness.
Washington’s injury history appears to be clean.
Washington is one of the diamonds in the rough that not many people know about in the scouting community. He isn’t getting the buzz that some of the other safeties like Moehrig, Jevon Holland, Andre Cisco, Richie Grant (You can read our scouting report on Grant here), and Hamsah Nasirildeen are getting. Washington hasn’t reached his true potential yet either, as Washington is only 21 years old. He only played two full years at TCU and only a few games during his freshman year. Washington could develop into a starting free safety at the next level, but in the meantime, he could play as a slot cornerback or rotational third safety for a team that likes to use a lot of dime packages.
Final Grade (85.25/100): Early-Second Round