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Cardinals Trade Up for OLB Daryl Washington

The Cardinals traded up 11 spots to grab TCU outside linebacker Daryl Washington.  Arizona gave up their extra third round pick.  Darren Urban of the Cards’ official website reports that Washington is the heir apparent to Karlos Dansby’s weak inside linebacker position.  In addition, Washington was on the Cardinals’ radar if Williams was unavailable in Round 1 so they are obviously thrilled to grab him in the second round.

In 2009, Washington led TCU with 109 tackles, the most stops by a Horned Frog since 2004 (Martin Patterson, 131). Washington was a Dick Butkus Award semifinalist.  His 11 tackles for loss, including 3 1/2 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, placed second on TCU behind only Hughes.   Here’s the scouting report:

Read & React: Relies on quick reactions rather than great instincts. Explodes into running lane and can smother underneath throws in zone coverage. Will get sucked in by play-action, but is fast enough to recover from a false step.

Run defense: Runs like a safety; has the straight-line speed to hustle downfield and chase to the sideline. Attacks and slides by fullbacks coming out of the hole, but will also lose the ball or overpursue the play. Knifes through holes when attacking stretch plays. Long arms help him bring down backs when he doesn’t break down but lacks the strength to do the same at the next level. Runs around blocks inside and is inconsistent taking on blocks and using his length to get free.

Pass defense: Fluid in space. Can be too upright when dropping into zone coverage. Nice sideline-to-sideline range. Able to identify and stay with receivers in his zone and run with any tight end down the seam. Closes on the ball in the air. Keeps an eye on the receiver and one on the quarterback; will come off his guy to make a play. Tough for quarterbacks to throw over and Washington — and in front of safeties. Struggles to intercept passes, even when he jumps the pattern and the ball is thrown into his hands.

Tackling: Not an explosive tackler. Drags ballcarriers to the ground using his length. Needs to sink his hips instead of tackling shoulder pads. Must improve his angles to the ball against quicker NFL ballcarriers. Tries to cut ballcarriers instead of bringing his hips. Could be a special teams coverage contributor with his speed and aggressive mentality.

Pass Rush/Blitz: Explosive as an inside blitzer, and will reach the quarterback from a stack formation. Uses his speed and/or hands to get past running backs, guard cut blocks and through traffic inside. Has the change-of-direction ability to corral quarterbacks coming off the edge.

Intangibles: His growth as a player throughout out his career in Fort Worth speaks to his upside as a linebacker. Willing and capable special teams force. Solid character and work ethic.

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