After helping the Buckeyes go 50-4 during his time in Columbus, Adolphus Washington now hopes to stay close to home and play for the hometown Bengals.
The 6'3" 301-pound defensive lineman is regarded as one of the best at his position in the 2016 NFL Draft. After being a force along Ohio State's defense since 2012, Washington finished his college career with 142 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks, 8.5 of which came over the last two seasons.
Those numbers don't do Washington justice though as Pro Football Focus gave him their third-best pass rushing grade among interior defensive linemen at +32.0. Washington is expected to be drafted between Rounds 2-3, and he'd love to play for the NFL team he grew up around.
A Cincinnati native who still resides in the Queen City and attended Taft High School, Washington told the Cincinnati Enquirer that playing for the Bengals would be a dream come true.
"Cincinnati is definitely the dream," Washington said. "If you talk to any of my family members, Cincinnati is one of the teams I talk to them about a lot. It’s the fact that you can come back home. It’s kind of different than college. I was learning how to be a man, do things on your own.
"The NFL, you’re still learning, but I can finally represent our city in my city. I can do football camps for kids. I can do fundraisers, all kind of stuff like that. I would love to be able to do that in my city where I know where the struggles are, where I know where all the bad neighborhoods are, where I know where the kids who need the most help are.
"That would definitely be a dream come true."
Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson told the Enquirer he believes Washington has all the attributes to become a solid NFL player, regardless of where he plays along the line.
"Some of the scouts will ask me ‘where can he play’ and he can play nose guard, three-technique, you can kick him out and play a five-technique defensive end – he’s got great rush skills," Johnson said.
Washington is getting an up-close meeting with the Bengals this week as he takes part in the team's Local Pro Day workout. If they are going to spend a high draft pick on this Buckeye, now is likely his final chance to make his case for why he should be drafted by his hometown team.
And based on how NFL.com's Lance Zierlein views Washington, it's easy to see why the Bengals like him as he compares to former Bengals defensive tackle Wallace Gilberry. That kind of dual-threat guy who can line up at end and tackle while remaining effective is the kind of versatility Cincinnati values.
Here's an excerpt of Washington's scouting report via PFF:
What he does best:
• Handles frontside double team well in the running game, can hold his ground
• Defeats blocks with his hands, has the length and power to move blockers at point of attack
• Quick hands allow him to shed blocks quickly as a pass rusher
• Impressive two-year production as pass rusher
• Has experience playing 3-technique (over guard) and 1-technique (nose tackle) and has been productive in both spots
• Does not always find the ball, whether he’s trying to shed or getting trapped
• Inconsistent staying square to line of scrimmage in run game. Can get turned against one-on-one blocks
• Needs to finish plays better to maximize potential
Sharrif Floyd, Minnesota Vikings. He’s a good player that can be very effective when he puts it all together.
Adding a player like Sharrif Floyd to the Bengals' defense would make that unit even scarier in 2016 and maybe good enough to carry the team on a deep playoff run.