Saints: 3 players who will turn heads at training camp
By Kristen Wong
New Orleans Saints who could turn heads – No. 3: Keith Washington II
Bad news: we don’t think Richard Sherman is coming to NOLA.
Good news: we still have Keith Washington.
The Saints cornerback unit should host some of the most competitive battles at camp, and we think Washington will prove himself worthier than the others.
All the facts suggest otherwise. Washington enters his second NFL season after being signed as an undrafted rookie from West Virginia in 2020. He didn’t see any action in the league last year and is fighting for a spot against the more seasoned lineup of Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Robinson, Ken Crawley, and P.J. Williams.
But the 24-year-old stuck it out last year, and we could be in for an explosive training camp preview of this extremely likable and voraciously hungry kid. Washington demonstrated his keen natural instincts in last year’s training camp and excelled in off-ball coverage and route recognition.
At 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Washington has a far-reaching wingspan but a thinner, slender frame, which could give him trouble against heftier wideouts. He’s got that “next-play” mentality to keep his head in the game, though.
In a post-practice interview in 2020, Washington also showed his mature and introspective side as he reflected on his time with the team. When asked what he’s learned so far, he said:
"Just knowing how to play football and where to be at, and learning new techniques that I didn’t know before. Every day there’s something new that you can learn in this game, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot but I’ve still got a long way to go."
Washington has a healthy balance of confidence and humility that should take him far, despite his lack of pro experience. His stellar training camp performance in 2020 was part of the reason Payton kept him on the team, and you can bet Washington will leave it all on the field this time around.