Senior Bowl Prospect Profile: Daryl Washington

MOBILE, Ala-Whatever Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is selling, the North team is buying it.

Schwartz, who is the head coach of the North team for the 2010 Senior Bowl, has all of his players saying the same thing: It’s all about the team.

And one of the key members of that team is TCU linebacker Daryl Washington.

The 6’2”, 226-pounder finished his four-year career at TCU with 219 tackles, four interceptions, five sacks and one forced fumble. 2009 was without question his best year as Washington was voted first-team All Mountain West Conference after racking up 109 tackles (68 solo), two sacks, three interceptions and scoring one touchdown for the 12-1 Horned Frogs.

And he’s humble, too.

Talking with Washington after Thursday morning’s practice, I asked him how he thought his week was going.

“We’re progressing every day. The chemistry’s been good and we’re just enjoying ourselves out there,” Washington said. “We’re coming together as a team.”

Washington, who is considered to be one of the best defensive athletes at the Senior Bowl by many NFL scouts, has shown impressive range sideline to sideline all week, but is a player who still needs to add more bulk to his frame.

“I need to put on five or six more pounds of muscle.” Washington told me when asked what he needs to improve on. “I’m working on getting stronger every day, building strength and making sure I’m healthy.”

Washington played strong-side linebacker in TCU head coach Gary Patterson’s unique 4-2-5 defense, but he projects to a weak-side linebacker in 4-3 scheme at the NFL level.

The kid has a nose for the football and the speed to get in position to make plays all over the field. But don’t take my word for it. Check out No. 41 in this Saturday’s Senior Bowl.

Here is NFP Director of College Scouting Wes Bunting’s analysis of Daryl Washington.

Daryl Washington: No. 41, OLB, 6016, 226

Washington is an impressive size/speed athlete who exhibits a great first step and showcases the range to easily track the ball sideline to sideline. He generates impressive power as a tackler and breaks down well on contact. He wraps up both in the hole and in space and consistently brings his legs through the play. He exhibits average power at the point of attack when asked to take on blocks inside but will drop his pad level and exhibit some anchor strength. He struggles to consistently fight his way through the block once an opposing lineman gets his hands on him and can be sealed from the play. Washington possesses above average instincts and reads his run keys quickly. But he will take a false step on misdirection plays and allows himself to get caught inside. He does a nice job using his length to keep himself clean when playing his way down the line.

He demonstrates good leverage on contact and does a great job fighting his way toward the ball. He displays impressive range in his back-pedal and a nose for the ball in coverage. He’s a bit high in his drop but redirects well and is rangy in zone coverage. But he will get caught watching the ball and loses track of his guy when asked to pick him up in man coverage. He’s one of the most impressive linebacker prospects in the nation and looks like a guy who can come in quickly and start for an NFL team.

Grade: 6.9...Becomes a starter during his rookie year… A prospect who possesses physical attributes that will create mismatches vs. most opponents… A featured player on team.

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