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Fast Facts: Malik Washington

Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier did his best to bestow patience on Head Coach Mike McDaniel when Virginia's Malik Washington name stayed on the board deep into Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Purely by the numbers, it's easy to see why McDaniel fell in love with the tape of the nation's receptions leader. We'll explore that, and more, in the fast facts on new Dolphins wide receiver, Malik Washington:

  1. Over the century mark in receptions

Nobody in college football hauled in more passes than the 110 secured by Malik Washington last season. His 1,426 receiving yards finished behind only Washington's Rome Odunze (the ninth pick in the draft), Malik Nabers (the sixth pick in the draft) and UNLV's Ricky White (projected first-round pick in 2025).

In fact, we need two bullet points of fast facts dedicated to the numbers Washington posted in 2023.

  1. The stats keep coming

The counting stats are terrific, but it's the advanced metrics that fully showcases Washington's impact on the Cavaliers offense last fall.

Washington's 35 missed tackles forced were the most among wide receivers in 2023. Only Odunze and Nabers had more receptions on deep passes (20+ air yards) in their careers from this class (27 career). Washington caught 11 out of 17 contested throws and that 67 percent contested catch rate was eighth in the nation. Finally, his 2.7 percent drop rate was fifth among receivers with at least 50 pass targets.

Washington scored on receptions from long throws, screens behind the line of scrimmage, on routes in which he was wide open and on plays where he had to run through tacklers. His 2023 season was a special campaign and projects a skill set translatable to the NFL.

  1. The critics agree, Washington is a hit

The 2024 wide receiver class was compared to some of the greats, which seems to be a trend recently. The 2021 crop produced a handful of stars, including Miami's Jaylen Waddle, and the classes that have followed haven't been far behind.

This trend pushes some skilled, accomplished receivers into the third day (rounds 4-7). Receivers like Washington, who don't just have the stats but the tape to follow, have been forced to wait for that coveted draft day phone call. He has clean releases and an ability to hug the line on his routes after crisply getting out of breaks. Those traits help make the transition to the NFL potentially seamless.

Of course, any rookie has a mountain of work ahead before calling themselves a proven pro, but Washington sure had some fans in the pre-draft process who think he can hit the ground running like so many rookie receivers have recently done.

  1. Cut To It with Steve Smith

It's fitting that the legendary wide out formerly of the Panthers and Ravens chose this offseason to kickstart his own podcast where he invites prospects on to break down film.

Washington caught wind of the 14,000-yard wide receiver when he was eight-years-old (2008). It's easy to tell through Washington's play style – tough, smart, strong hands and an attitude that every football in the air belongs to him, and that no tackler should be able to bring him down – that Smith was an icon to him.

Washington got to meet his idol and on the episode, the receivers pored over the 2023 Virginia tape, highlighting what made Washington such a fascinating prospect.

They explore some of the aspects of Washington's game that makes him an obvious fit in Miami – his feel for timing and an understanding how to pace his route to maximize space in an offense.

For more on the Malik Washington, and the rest of the Dolphins 2024 draft class, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.

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