DeAndre Washington isn’t a big guy. He stands just 5-foot-8.
But the former Texas Tech running back weighs 200 pounds and had a terrific career for the Red Raiders, running for more than 1,000 yards in both 2014 and 2015. Plus, Washington – despite his size – is one tough football player, able to run between the tackles.
His running backs coach at Texas Tech, Mike Jinks, says Washington’s combination of smarts, speed and surprising strength makes him a terrific back as a ballcarrier, pass receiver and blocker.
“You’d be challenged to find a more intelligent player at that position in the Big 12,” Jinks said this past season. “He’s an unbelievably tough runner. If you watch how many tackles he broke between the tackles, it’s pretty phenomenal. His elusiveness in tight quarters is special.”
Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie saw the same thing and took Washington in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. Now Washington figures to get a good opportunity to earn the No. 2 running back job, behind Latavius Murray, and be a nice change of pace option for the Raiders offense.
“He’s the one guy that every time we watched him play, it was very difficult for the first guy to get him down,” McKenzie told reporters. “He had power, quickness and he had speed. He was the kind of guy that can do it all. He’s tough, instinctive. We just thought he was a really good football player. We think he’s going to help our team a lot.”
Washington told the Bay Area media after being drafted that he met with McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio at the NFL Combine. He says he’s not worried about what some would perceive as a lack of size to succeed at the next level. He says he’s “small and compact, but very physical at the point of attack.”
He’s a terrific receiver, too, with 30 catches in his final season for 328 yards, and says that he also knows how important it will be to provide pass protection for quarterback Derek Carr.
“I take that personally, man,” he told the media. “I think if you watch my film, anytime I get a chance to take on a defender, I play with a chip on my shoulder when it comes to that part of my game. I definitely take that personally.”