After solving their nose tackle needs in the first round by drafting Dan Williams, the Arizona Cardinals traded up on Friday evening to select TCU linebacker Daryl Washington.
The Cardinals moved up to the 47th pick by swapping second round picks with the New England Patriots and also giving up one of their third round selections.
After Sergio Kindle fell off the board, the Cardinals front office likely scrambled to select Washington to fill their need at inside linebacker. Washington is a tremendous talent to land mid-second round. He was projected by some to land in the first, but somehow was overlooked until the second.
Washington played in every game last season, recording 109 tackles, 11 for a loss, two sacks, and three interceptions. He's a very explosive linebacker that will use his speed to find the quarterback when blitzing, and is quick enough to avoid running back blocks and cut blocks. Against the pass, Washington is fluid in space and is a sideline to sideline linebacker that stays with his receivers in his zone. He has the speed to hang with any tight end down the seam and he likes to smother receivers, making it hard for quarterbacks to throw over him. He uses his length to tackle ball carriers and has the speed to make up for mistakes. Washington's reaction time is quick and he explodes into lanes to disrupt plays. The best part is that he didn't have any character issues at TCU and has a strong work ethic.
One issue that scouts had with him was his frame. Washington is an ideal inside linebacker, but still needs to bulk up and add lower body strength nowthat he's at the next level. He's also not a strong tackler and needs to sink his hips instead of wrapping around the shoulder pads. He could also work on taking better angles, because quicker NFL backs will get past him. Other then that, Washington could've easily been a first round selection.
Washington will likely back up veteran linebacker Paris Lenon through the beginning of the regular season. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis already revealed that once a rookie linebacker is ready, he'll take over in the middle. Daryl Washington will be that guy.