The Denver Broncos selected small school wide receiver Montrell Washington in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Initially, many were skeptical and criticized the selection. He came from a small school in Samford, draftnik’s had him ranked as an undrafted free agent, and he’s a smaller receiver who many considered ‘just a returner’.
However. after a strong training camp and preseason, Washington went from a criticized selection into a popular breakout rookie. If he continues to impress, we can thank Broncos future Hall Of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson for noticing the small school receiver.
Russell Wilson said that he watched film of every WR on the Broncos’ draft radar with George Paton for an hour & a half before the draft.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 1, 2022
Then they got to Montrell Washington.
“We looked at each other and said, 'He may the one,’” Wilson recalled.
Washington became a R5 pick.
Wilson during his press conference announcing his five-year contract extension with the Broncos was asked about his relationship with General Manager George Paton and Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett. He noted a moment prior to the 2022 NFL Draft where he and George Paton spent hours watching the receiving prospects together.
“There are so many talented players in the draft every year. I love watching the guys. I love watching the receivers, the tight ends, running backs, and the lineman, too. I will never forget going into his office. He says, ‘Hey, come on in. I want to show you some clips. I have a bunch of receiver clips and stuff.’ We watched every single receiver. Literally. When I say every single receiver, we watched every single receiver for about a good hour and a half, two hours.”
During that process, they came across Montrell Washington, the undersized small school wide receiver from Samford, and were impressed by his tape. So impressed that Wilson and Paton looked at each other
‘We watched every single guy, and then we came across this guy named [WR] Montrell Washington. We looked at each other like, ‘He may be the one.’ Sure enough. Obviously, [General Manager] George [Paton] and his team have done an amazing job finding great talent, and how they pick these guys—it’s been really special.’
George Paton and the Broncos decision makers were so impressed by Washington’s upside that they spent a fifth-round selection on him and gave Wilson the receiver he handpicked. So far, Washington has been proving them right as he was the star of training camp and made plays during the preseason.
As Wilson said, ‘sure enough”, George Paton and the Broncos found talent in the draft for the second straight year. Washington will be the starting kick and punt returner in week one and likely will get some reps on offense. Getting that sort of production right away from a day three selection is pretty rare.
In the end, hopefully, Montrell Washington turns into another Tyler Lockett or Doug Baldwin type of receiver for Russell Wilson and the Broncos. Both were/are undersized wide receivers who contributed in a big way for him during their careers. Washington fits that mold and is already looking impressive.
I am excited to see what these two talent evaluators the Broncos currently have in Paton and Wilson can find in the coming years together.