Although it may seem like forever ago, it was just this past year that New York Giants fans were eagerly awaiting what rookie wide receiver, Corey Washington, would accomplish after a stellar performance in the preseason.
However, the seemingly budding star was used sparingly at best by the Giants once the season got started, only garnering 57 snaps on offense. While he did make the most of his time on the field (Washington caught five out of seven pass targets for 52 yards and one touchdown), the lack of on field opportunities the coaching staff gave the former preseason MVP was disconcerting, especially after fellow receivers Victor Cruz and Jerrel Jernigan were lost for the season.
While Washington expressed his disappointment in the way his rookie season played out, he seems more than ready to rebound next season, telling Tom Rock of Newsday: “Every time I get my opportunity, I embrace it. I catch everything. I don’t know what it’s going to take. I can only control what I can do…So come back next year, keep doing what I’ve been doing this season. Give a little more. Catch some more touchdowns in the preseason. That’s all I can do.”
Hopefully the young receiver can turn his obvious frustration with last years playing time into motivational fuel for a breakout sophomore campaign. He must first start by earning the coaching staff’s trust in training camp and minicamp, exhibiting the great hands and body positioning against defensive backs he has shown in the past.
This would ensure for Washington that once the preseason games start he will see some reps against opposing team’s second and first units, rather than the third units he put up 10 catches for 155 yards and four touchdowns on last year.
Although he has already shown he is capable of it, a stellar preseason is an absolute must for Washington if he hopes to make the roster, let alone sniff the field, in 2015. A mediocre performance from him would lead the Giants to slate veterans Dwayne Harris, Preston Parker, Kevin Ogletree, and potentially even Arena League standout Marcus Harris, all ahead of him on the depth chart.
Washington has shown he can be a dynamic play maker but he bears the “Division II tag,” often feared by NFL coaches and management. Just ask San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead who, despite being the NCAA all time leading rusher at Division II Chadron State, went undrafted and was later cut by the New York Jets before latching on with the New England Patriots. The league just has a trend of staying away from Division II prospects due to their lack of experience against NFL caliber competition.
Washington has shown great potential during his short NFL career, and could develop into an outstanding red-zone and deep threat for quarterback Eli Manning with his combination of size and speed. Yet, the Newberry College product will have to put his talents on absolute full display in the upcoming months in order to earn himself another roster spot.