- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Washington is listed as an outside linebacker in draft guides. He made 76 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks during his career at Georgia.
Strengths: Numerous outlets projected Washington to be drafted in the third or fourth round. Washington is another athletic hybrid-type player who boasts impressive measurables and athleticism. Flashed extreme speed at the NFL Combine. Described as a powerful player with a great build. Competed at the highest level in the SEC, arguably the top conference in the nation.
Weaknesses: Washington was never a full-time starter with the exception of his final year with the Bulldogs when he started 10 of 14 games. Even with playing time, Washington was kind of hit-or-miss in terms of on-field production. Had an off-the-field incident, a DUI arrest, in 2011. Injured hamstring at Pro Day.
By the numbers: Washington is 6-4, 264 pounds. He ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Second highest vertical leap (39-inch) and top bench press of all the linebackers at the NFL Combine. Washington tested with the linebackers.
What it means: If Washington can keep it together, he projects to be a valuable contributor on special teams at the onset of his NFL career. There is no shortage of ability here. Washington is Phil Emery’s prototypical “dynamic athlete”, but he needs to prove he can successfully adjust to life in the NFL. Plenty of players with Washington’s talent never make it because they lack the proper focus. It will be interesting to see how Washington competes at defensive end with reserves Turk McBride and Kyle Moore. The Bears haven’t ruled out re-signing Israel Idonije, but with another defensive end now in the mix, the odds of bringing back the veteran seem to be shrinking by the minute.
What’s next: The Bears hold one more pick in the seventh round (No. 236) as a result of their earlier trade with the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears could still stand to gain another cornerback or wide receiver.
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