Cornelius Washington: Chicago Bears Roster Preview


The 2015 NFL season will be here before you know it, so enjoy your summer and let us here at BGO ensure that you’re adequately acquainted with the entire roster by the time the Bears kick it off on September 13th.  Of course not every Bear requires an introduction, but for the lesser known players this could come in handy and with all the change underway at Halas Hall — you never know who might be suiting up on Sundays this year.  The player we’re discussing now just might be one of those surprises, big #94, Cornelius Washington.

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In 2014 Washington managed to record 6 solo tackles and 3 helpers.  Also managed to get his first career sack.  Now these stats certainly won’t blow your hair back, but for a young guy taken as a developmental project in the 6th round of the 2013 draft — at least he’s seeing the field.  As a defensive end he was a part of the rotation and played in 13 games, getting his first action in week #3 and playing in every game after that except for week #14 against Dallas (he was injured in the Thanksgiving Day game against Detroit the week prior).

Coming out of Georgia the consensus on Cornelius Washington was that he had all of the tools to be a potential force in the NFL, albeit down the road, not necessarily right away.

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Back in spring of 2013’s draft profile labeled him “a tall, long defensive end/rush linebacker” who “flashes the strength and quickness (10 career sacks) to be a factor.”  Granted, that was the story on Washington two years ago and has he ascended yet to the point where he’s realizing that potential?  No, certainly not, but the Bears knew when they took him that immediate returns were likely not in the cards.  Now that we’re in year number three, however, the clock will start ticking a little bit louder as we wait for Washington to be that late-bloomer.

This is where the addition of Vic Fangio really comes into play.  He has a penchant for squeezing every last drop of football ability out of his players so that the final product on the field, both individually and team-wide, is a display of effort & passion for the game.  Could Washington be a guy that benefits most from being mentored by Fangio?

The Bears list him as DE but as they move thru the process of seeing which pieces fit where in the 3-4 scheme, maybe Washington gets a look at OLB?  Either way the situation seems to be coming together for him nicely as an opportunity to show well and emerge as a guy who can contribute to this defense.

What to Expect from Cornelius Washington in 2015:

The answer to this question will be revealed down in sunny Bourbonnais this coming August.  In all seriousness, he’s not a guy that we’re going to get OTA or Training Camp updates on and until he really starts flashing — he’ll be an under-the-radar guy.  The problem is that he has under-the-radar stats and to be a consistent contributor on a defensive unit aiming for a marked improvement in their performance, he’ll have to be better than that.

One look at the roster and there isn’t a lot of star power or wow factor in the guys he’ll be competing against for playing time at DE.  Jared Allen, Willie Young, Lamarr Houston and David Bass are all now considered linebackers in the new alignment.  That means the list of potential roadblocks Washington would’ve faced if fighting for a DE roster spot in a 4-3 alignment have been whittled way down.

Washington certainly isn’t nose tackle material and the Bears already have a couple of prime candidates to hold down the middle anyway in Jeremiah Ratliff and rookie Eddie Goldman (the latter BGO did a rookie profile on recently).  So his aim is squarely at DE, and as Lloyd Christmas would say “so you’re telling me there’s a chance…”

Yes, there is a chance.  And better than the 1 in a million bomb that Mary dropped on poor ol’ Lloyd.  But enough outdated movie references, the point is that I do expect Washington to make the roster and I have a hunch he’ll be a guy that next year won’t require a BGO roster preview for you to know who he is.  The situation this year is ripe for a guy like him.

He’s coming into his 3rd year being in the NFL now and knows the ropes; he’s gotten his feet wet with a decent amount of playing time last year, so he has a taste of what it’s like and what it will take if he wants to be more than just another guy on the roster.

Most importantly, the change on the defensive side of the ball for the Bears cannot be overstated.  New coaches, new philosophies, different outlooks on players and of course the biggest thing — a new scheme.  Here’s to hoping he proves me right and drops his fair share of quarterbacks this fall.

Next: Bears Roster Breakdown: Ego Ferguson

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