The NFL draft rumors will explode once we descend on Indianapolis for the NFL combine. Many times, rumors are just speculation or agent/team-driven releases of “information” for specified reasons. Sometimes it is as simple as an agent trying to drive up interest in his client while other times a team is trying to send a message to their own players or pending free agents.
For the Cleveland Browns, finding gems in the NFL draft has become a regular occurrence despite not having first or second-round picks the last two years. This year, the Browns have eight selections to work with and a load of potential free agents to replace.
According to a report, Cleveland is among a number of teams to show specific interest in Virginia Cavaliers WR Malik Washington:
A name to know in the WR class, UVA wideout Malik Washington has spent extended time with the Jets, Commanders, Browns and Raiders, a source said.— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) February 7, 2024
AP All-American & First Team All-ACC selection ended the year with seven consecutive 100+ yard games.
The 5’8” Washington impressed many at the Shrine Bowl after setting Virginia records in 2023. Not the biggest or fastest, Washington uses precise route running to get open and is great with the ball in his hands. You can see the subtleties in his route running throughout his college tape:
Too smooth from Malik Washington out of the slot on the out & up. Head fake on the out, then sells it by looking back towards the QB, then immediately breaks it upfield. Smooth, succinct, & well timed to create separation— Anthony Cover 1 (@Pro__Ant) February 4, 2024
He also can make contested, difficult catches as we see here during Shrine Bowl practice:
The Consensus Big Board has Washington as the 132nd-ranked player with Mock Drafts often selecting him in the fifth round. Cleveland currently has two picks in the fifth round and two picks in the sixth round but none in the fourth should Washington’s stock rise.
Given his size, unless he has exceptional times at the combine, Washington’s stock is unlikely to go beyond the fourth round despite the production and ability to create separation.