28 Sep Scouting Notes: Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
Redshirt Sophmore | 5’8” 179 lbs | Shreveport, Louisiana
A deep safety who has the range and ball skills to be a difference-maker in the passing game but lacks the size and strength to be a big factor as a run defender
Ar’Darius Washington came to TCU as a 3-star recruit, redshirting his first year on campus before earning a starting spot towards the end of 2019. In that lone season, Washington managed to rack up 46 total tackles – 35 solo – five interceptions and two pass breakups. The Horned Frogs primarily used him as a deep safety in their two-high zone and pattern match heavy scheme. The Shreveport native has some impressive athletic ability which helps increase his range and the ball skills to be an impact player in coverage. However, he lacks the size and strength to be a force against the run.
– Constant pre-snap communicator, working with his teammates to help set the coverage
– Quick to recognize routes and passing concepts, as he adjusts and avoids contact on rub routes and has good quickness and acceleration to help take away shallow crossers
– Recognizes when to switch and effectively communicates the switch with teammates with pattern match responsibilities
– In zone coverage, he has good peripheral vision to eye the quarterback and still find wide receivers coming into his area to take them away
– Reads the quarterback’s eyes well to anticipate throws
– Good instincts and quickness allow him to undercut and jump routes to be in a position to make a play on the ball
– As a Cover 2 safety, he plays at a good depth where he can keep wide receivers in front of him but can still take away underneath routes
– Impressive range as he can go from the top of the numbers to the middle of the field and be able to make a play on the ball
– Has the quickness, acceleration, and change of direction skills to limit yards after the catch on short routes
– Excellent hands for interceptions and timing to get PBUs
– Uses low pad level and wraps up the ball carrier’s legs when tackling, and he can close and clean up the trash as the second tackler in a gang tackle
Areas to improve:
– Very undersized for an NFL safety
– Gets boxed out and struggles at the catch point against bigger wide receivers and tight ends
– Has a habit of taking too flat of an angle in pursuit towards the sidelines and when coming downhill against the run
– As a run defender, he’s not very aggressive or physical at the point of attack to take on/shed blocks and constrict rushing lanes
– Isn’t much of a factor against the run due to his size and strength deficiencies
Washington is a special talent in coverage who would be a great fit for any team that is looking for a deep/free safety. Currently, he projects as a late-first or early-second round pick. Teams might worry about his limited experience and ability to impact the running game, but the Horned Frog’s coverage skills are tough to beat. Washington has a chance to move into the top-15 discussion with an impressive 2020 campaign.
What to watch in 2020:
Can he take command of the starting spot and maintain a high level of play with more reps? With only five career starts, Washington has a rather small sample size which is holding back his draft stock. If he can put together a full season of starting experience and continue to play at a high level, more teams will be comfortable spending a first-round pick on him.
- A Bay Area native who has a dysfunctional relationship with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.
- Matt played college football and was a recruiting assistant at Division 3 Willamette University, where he received his BA and MBA.
- He has worked in the industry as a journalist, film analyst for PFF, and graduated from the Scouting Academy.