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Corey Washington: Big man has big chance with Giants

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Undrafted free agent Corey Washington hopes to prove he belongs with the Giants.

Corey Washington catches a pass as Eli Manning watches
Corey Washington catches a pass as Eli Manning watches
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for an unheralded player to keep an eye as the New York Giants training camp and preseason unfold? Try undrafted free agent wide receiver Corey Washington, who played his college football at little-known Division II Newberry College.

Washington has been impressive in the early days of training camp, making himself noticed even with the limited reps afforded an undrafted player running with the third and fourth units. Sunday's practice provided a prime example.

  • During one-on-one drills, Washington beat second-year cornerback Charles James deep down the left sideline, and could have hauled in a long touchdown pass but quarterback Ryan Nassib overthrew him.
  • Washington executed a beautiful double move against cornerback Jayron Hosley in the one-on-one drills, catching another Nassib pass for roughly 15 yards. He also forced Hosley into a holding penalty on the play.
  • During 7-on-7 drills, Washington caught a short in route in front of C.J. Barnett.
  • In the 11-on-11 drills, Washington sliced through the middle to catch a shallow crossing route from Curtis Painter.

Washington's goal in the early days of training camp?

'The quarterbacks love a big receiver.' - Corey Washington

"Just come out here, keep working, show them I belong out here," he said on Sunday. "No matter what school, what size it was, you can do whatever you want to do if you put your mind to it."

Washington has one thing that can't be taught, and that no other current Giants wide receiver has. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds he has size. He is easily the tallest receiver on the roster.

"The quarterbacks love a big receiver," Washington said. "I see a role for myself. I can have that role catching short passes, getting YAC, being that red-zone threat. Eli's been missing that since Nicks has been gone. I'm trying to replace him."

During a practice earlier this week, Washington used his size on an out route to position himself in between James and the sideline, and when the pass came from quarterback Ryan Nassib James' only play was to run through Washington and commit pass interference.

"When I came out of my break I saw that he was all over me, so I used my body so he can't get around and get the ball," Washington said. "He's gonna knock me over. I'm stopping to catch the ball and I know how the quarterback placed the ball I probably wasn't going to get it, so it was a win-win situation for me.

"You've gotta use what you got to get what you want."

What Washington wants, of course, is to earn a spot on the Giants roster.

"I can compete at this level. I love competition. It's nice to come out here, be with the guys. It's fun, it's not something I can't handle," he said.

'You've gotta use what you got to get what you want.' - Corey Washington

Washington, 22, is from North Charleston, S.C. He played two years at Georgia Military and then two years at Newberry. Washington caught 44 passes for 839 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns last season, earning D2Football.com Honorable Mention All-American honors. In two seasons at Newberry, Washington caught 95 passes for 1,615 yards (17.0-yard avg.) and 22 touchdowns.

Newberry might not seem like a likely place for NFL players to come from, but there are two other Newberry alums -- Ron Parker of the Kansas City Chiefs and Brandon Bostick of the Green Bay Packers -- playing in the NFL, so it is not unprecedented.

Washington was raised by his grandmother from the time he was two years old. Her advice when Washington headed for Giants camp? "Just work hard. Don't come back home."

Washington is doing what he can to follow orders.

[E-mail Ed at bigblueview@gmail.com]