Surprise entry into April's draft

It seems every January there are always a few surprise entries into the NFL Draft; prospects that would be better served staying in college for another season to hone their talents. The 2004 draft has its' first such player.

Clemson University junior defensive tackle Donnell Washington announced he will forgo his final season at Clemson to enter the NFL draft.  Washington said Monday the NFL advisory draft board notified his agent, Doug Hendrickson of Octagon, that he could be a first- or second-round pick, according to Jon Solomon.

"Based on what I've seen, I'm right up there with the elite tackles in the country," Washington said from Oakland, Calif., where he is training for the NFL combine. "I'm ready, but not ready to the point that I don't need anything else to improve on. Speed and stamina wise, I'm not ready."

Washington was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and totaled 55 tackles, nine for losses, and four sacks during the regular season. He led Clemson with 24 quarterback pressures.

Washington said he discussed his decision with defensive line coach Thielen Smith and did not meet with coach Tommy Bowden.  "I would have advised him not to go," Bowden said. "I think he's getting some bad advice. I wish him the best and appreciate what he did here. All my information in dealing with the pro scouts was he should have come back," Solomon concluded.

TFY Analysis: Washington was high on our list of junior prospects, and we said so during our preview of the Tigers as far back as June but we feel he's making a mistake.  Even when we scouted him live against North Carolina State in October, he showed more flashes than consistency.

Scout NFL Network Top Stories