A Look At Running Back Dwayne Washington‘s 2017 Season Performance And How It Impacts His Future In Detroit
The Detroit Lions running game was the worst in the NFL in 2017. Dwayne Washington’s place on the roster was proof of how devoid of talent the Lions were at the running back position last year. While his athletic traits were worthy of his original 7th-round pick back in the 2016 NFL Draft, there are very few teams that would have kept him with what he has shown thus far in the league.
At 6’0″, 226 lbs, he is far from a small back. He runs with power well and has nice long speed. However, Washington had the worst vision on a roster that already had terrible vision in their running back room. Vision is one of the most important traits for a running back. Not only is it crucial for finding for where the hole is going to develop, but it also helps backs set their blockers up with good angles to take to the second level.
This is a big reason why the Lions running game failed in 2017. Outside of running back Ameer Abdullah, they lacked any runner that could see the play develop in front of them, nor could they display the necessary patience to take advantage of the defense.
Washington’s 2017 Season And Beyond
Le’Veon Bell is one of the leagues very best running backs, if not the best. One thing Bell has in overabundance is patience. This really facilitates his offensive line, as it gives them the time to set up their blocks, as well as get downfield to block on the second level. This was the biggest problem for Dwayne Washington in 2017 and going forward. He has not shown that he possesses the patience or vision to be an NFL-caliber back.
This led to an abysmal 2017 performance for Washington. In the five games he played, Washington managed to muster just 44 rushing yards on 20 carries. That averages out to be just 2.2 yards per carry. He earned no touchdowns and had a season-long rush of six yards. He also caught two passes for 14 yards.
Washington’s 2017 performance was pretty indicative of what we saw the season before. The Lions’ lack of vision and patience in their running back room were likely key reasons for the 2nd-round selection of Kerryon Johnson in the 2018 NFL Draft. While he has many positive traits, two of Johnson’s best attributes are his patience and vision. The Lions have sent a message to their running back group that the days of lacking those traits in Detroit are over. Washington will have a long way to go to prove he can do either at a high enough level to stay on the Lions roster in 2018.