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Windy City Gridiron: Cornelius Washington’s best football may be ahead of him

Learning more about the Lions’ new defensive end.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency has slowed way down. After the first couple of days where the Detroit Lions were signing free agents left and right, it was hard to slow down and get to know some of the guys that weren’t high profile pickups like Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang. So I did what anyone looking for the truth would do: I ran away to Memphis and hid out for a few days.

While I was out of town, I received a message marked urgent from our fearless leader, Mr. Jeremy Reisman. It said, “Come home. We need you to find out stuff about these players. Also mozzarella sticks are the best.” [Editor’s note: This is libel. I will see you in court, Mike.] I knew he was right. I had to conclude my journey. So I spent one more night dancing my heart out. Which we actually have video proof of for you here today.

I’m the guy in the background. Behind Urkel.

In the morning, I got on the road. My first stop had to be in Chicago, since it was on the way home. Once I got to Chicago, I was immediately reminded of the time I got heat exhaustion at the Brookfield Zoo and passed out in front of the monkeys. Good times.

At a local deep dish pizza establishment, I met my pal Lester Wiltfong Jr of Windy City Gridiron. After telling him my feelings on deep dish pizza (highly overrated), we began to talk Cornelius Washington, the Lions’ newest defensive end. Here’s what Lester had to say.

POD: What are your overall thoughts on Washington’s time in Chicago?

LWJ: “Washington struggled to find his place in Chicago, whether by injury or scheme, but last season he finally seemed to settle in as a 5-Tech defensive end. When he was on the field he was a decent player and I was hoping the Bears would have brought him back. I won't necessarily say he's going to "break out" in 2017, but I think he's finally primed to reach some of his potential. “

POD: What are his strengths?

LWJ: “He's a big strong guy at 6-foot-4, 292 pounds, which allows him to play some 2 gap stuff, but he's also an explosive athlete which allows him to shoot the gap. He's also able to play anywhere along the d-line.”

POD: What are his weaknesses?

LWJ: “ Even though he has great straight line speed for a guy his size, he's a bit stiff athletically. Not quick getting into his counter move and not great bend around the edge.”

POD: Can Washington make a large impact in Detroit? Or will he play a role?

LWJ: “I always thought his best football was ahead of him, he just needed to stay on the field and gain experience. I think he can be a solid left defensive end in the Lions base package, and on passing downs he could kick inside and rush the passer from defensive tackle.”

So here’s what we can take from all of this. Washington’s best years of football may be ahead of him, but he is more than likely going to be a depth piece for the Detroit Lions. Perhaps in the same vein as Devin Taylor.

We shall soon see what Washington will be able to add. Until then, I have to get to the airport for my next stop. Where to you ask? I’ll give you a hint: When I get there, I’ll have to rest my head on a pillow made of concrete.

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