2023 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Parker Washington (Fantasy Football)

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At this point in the process, most dynasty players are well aware of the top prospects in the 2023 wide receiver class – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Joran Addison, Quentin Johnston, etc. Parker Washington out of Penn State is not in the same conversation as those types of players, but he could be a value late in dynasty rookie drafts.

In this article, we’ll dive into his college production profile, measurables, and film takeaways to see if we can identify what type of player Washington might be for fantasy rosters. Let’s dive in!

Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series, which will continue until the 2023 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2023.

College Production Profile

Washington was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Texas and stepped right into a consistent role for the Nittany Lions as a true freshman. During the 2020 Covid-shortened year, Washington averaged a respectable 54.3 receiving yards per game, helping him earn a Breakout Age of 18.6, one of the best marks in the 2023 WR class.

In 2021 as a full-time player, Washington showed growth, hauling in 64 catches for 820 yards, but the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Jahan Dotson, was that team’s clear alpha WR1. It’s always nice to see NFL prospects produce even alongside NFL talent, but in 2022, Washington didn’t quite make the jump as he still operated as Penn State’s primary slot WR. Of course, his production profile was hurt a bit due to the fact that he missed the team’s final three games because of an ankle injury.

Measurables

Height Weight Age Breakout Age
5′ 10″ 204 lbs. 21.1 18.6

Parker Washington’s measurables section is incomplete due to the fact that he was unable to workout for NFL teams at all during the pre-draft process. As discussed above, the Penn State product missed time at the end of the 2022 season due to an ankle injury. That injury prevented Washington from being able to participate at the NFL Combine, and he still wasn’t healthy enough to participate in Penn State’s pro day either.

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As a result, it’s difficult to speak to Washington’s athleticism. One thing we can look at, however, is his size. At 5′ 10″, Washington fits the theme of this WR class – most of the 2023 prospects are undersized relative to NFL norms of the last few years. Because of that size profile, Parker Washington projects as more of a slot WR at the next level.

It is worth noting that Washington’s got the second-highest BMI among all receivers in this year’s class. He moves like a running back once the ball is in his hands.

What’s on Tape

Games viewed: Ohio State (2020), Rutgers (2020), Wisconsin (2021), Ohio State (2021), Michigan (2021), Ohio (2022), Minnesota (2022)

1. Washington is tough at the catch point.

Despite being undersized, Washington’s got great ball skills and is tough at the catch point, showing an ability to fight through contact to make plays like this one against Minnesota.

2. Production out of the slot.

In three seasons at Happy Valley, Washington’s slot snap rate was 96% (2020), 84% (2021) and 65% (2022). As a result, most of the routes (excluding sweeps, screens, etc.) we see on tape for Washington are over the middle of the field.

3. Yards after the catch.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get athletic testing numbers for Washington to get a sense of his speed. However, with the ball in his hands, Washington is difficult to bring down after the catch. At his compact size, he’s got the ability to break tackles from smaller defensive backs, turning into a running back once the ball is in his hands. Plays like this show up on Washington’s tape consistently. It is worth noting that Washington became the team’s primary punt returner as a junior, so Penn State’s staff certainly wanted to feature Washington with the ball in his hands.

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What’s Not on Tape

1. Production on the perimeter.

Not only did Washington play primarily as a slot WR at PSU, almost all of the targets I saw on tape were over the middle of the field. Now, this isn’t to say he didn’t get an opportunity down the field to make some plays, but even those big time plays came at or between the hashes. Simply put, being a technician on the sidelines isn’t on tape very often for Washington.

2. Quickness and explosiveness in and out of breaks.

Parker Washington projects as a slot WR in the NFL, and as we’ve already established, that’s where he played most of his snaps in college. Usually, we think of slot WRs as having a lightning quick release and being able to change speeds on a dime to create separation out of the slot. Simply put, he doesn’t have the same juice as someone like Jaxon Smith-Njigba on his inside routes.

2023 Fantasy and Dynasty Outlook

Based on his projected day three NFL Draft capital and size, Parker Washington’s upside as a fantasy option is certainly capped, making him more of a dynasty sleeper than a priority target in rookie drafts. In a recent superflex mock draft with the FootClan, Washington fell to the early fourth round. Obviously, the hit rate on these rookies is historically poor, so we should keep expectations in check. However, there are parts of his game that make him an interesting dart throw late in rookie drafts.

As for 2023 in redraft leagues, Washington is nothing more than a player to monitor throughout the summer. He’s still recovering from his season-ending ankle injury and isn’t currently on the fantasy radar. Of course, that could change depending on landing spot and how he performs with his NFL team throughout the off-season program.

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