Both individuals impressed the Oakland Raiders on draft day so much that they were their first two selections – Washington in the first round and Routt in the second. Both players also clocked 40-yard dash times under 4.3-seconds.
The Raiders needing to draft a cornerback became a bigger emphasis after trading Phillip "My Opinion of Myself is Greater than my performance" Buchanon to the Houston Texans. Plus, the Raiders were expected to trade Charles Woodson and his $10.5 million dollar salary only to not find any takers so far. Now, it appears Woodson will stay.
Washington and Routt, like Buchanon are both fast and their stature is in much the same line as Buchanon's 5-10, 185-pound frame. Washington is 5-11, 185 while Routt is 6-1, 190. The Raiders plan on giving both players at shot as punt and kickoff returners.
There is, however, one notable difference – at least initially – after the two were introduced on Friday at the Raiders minicamp (which lasts until Sunday). OK, granted first impressions can fade but after watching Buchanon get full of himself by referring to himself frequently in the third person tense such as "Showtime" and "PB Style," listening to Washington and Routt became refreshing.
Let's just say that Washington and Routt are Buchanon minus the attitude with a much better work ethic. For that reason, they are already ahead of the game. Then again, Buchanon was drafted from the University of Miami (Fla), where arrogance is seemingly a perquisite. Buchanon arrived at Raiders training camp in Napa, CA, in 2003 in a limousine with a Playboy medallion. When asked if he would make a similar splash Routt quipped: "I can't predict the future but I don't see that happening."
Washington left Nebraska, where he played his junior season for former Raiders head coach Bill Callahan, after his junior season. Washington cited the desire to help his family out of poor living conditions in his hometown of Bradenton, Fla., as the biggest reason to bypass his senior year.
Washington impressed Raiders owner Al Davis at the NFL scouting combine so much that his 4.29 time in the 40-yard dash hiked his draft status from third-round to the 23rd overall pick in the draft. Washington, however, did not boast of his speed. Instead, he added that he needed to perfect his technique. As for that speed, Washington said, "I wasn't even the fastest guy on Nebraska." When asked who, he said, "Willie Amos (a safety turned wide receiver)."
Routt, whose agent is former Raider safety Van McElroy, also doubled as a track athlete at Houston. It is also worth noting, however, that Routt, "Never did all three at the same time. It was either football and school or track and school."
The NFL, however, is a situation where players have to refine their various skills. Routt and Washington should get that chance sooner rather than later.
"Any roster is a place where a young player has a chance to make an impact early – if he's good enough," Routt said.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org