Christian Kirk will be a great mentor for Jaguars rookie Parker Washington
Wide receiver wasn't among the positions the Jacksonville Jaguars needed to address in the 2023 NFL Draft but that didn't stop them from using a sixth-round pick in former Penn State standout Parker Washington, who'll have the chance to learn under Christian Kirk next season.
Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media on the first day of the team's rookie minicamp and said that Kirk will be a great mentor for Washington, who's slated to line up in the slot early in his career. "He's got the size and the physicality to block in there and then e able to run routes over the ball much like Christian does", Pederson said. "A great mentor in Christian that Parker can study from and then ultimately his speed and his ability to catch the football".
"This guy, you watch his college film, he's exciting, he's electric. He's a big-play type of guy. At some point to see him work, it'd be good to see", Pederson said.
Pederson then adds that Washington, along with defensive tackle Raymon Vohasek and linebacker Ventrell Miller, will be held out of practice, as he's still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered at Penn State last year.
Parker was the first player of their 2023 draft class that the Jaguars got under contract, signing a four-year deal worth $4.032 million last week. Here's a picture of him signing his rookie contract.
Jaguars rookie Parker Washington will have the chance to learn behind Christian Kirk
Barring injuries, Parker Washington won't likely be seeing the field much in his rookie season, with Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones firmly entrenched at the top of the receiver depth chart. That's not necessarily a bad thing though.
Washington could compete for a roster spot with Jones, who had an outstanding 2022 preseason last year but wasn't much of a factor in the regular season, playing just 145 offensive snaps and tallying three catches on four targets. In the worst-case scenario, the former will push the latter to get better.
Either way, learning behind Kirk will be huge for Parker and the fact that he won't probably be pressed into action will allow him to work on his skills before he's ready for extended action. While there's not much he can do about his size (he's 5'10" with 204 pounds), he can certainly improve his route running and that's where Kirk's tutelage will be invaluable.
In the end, the Jaguars could afford to add depth because they entered the draft without glaring weaknesses. While Parker Washington would surely like to contribute right off the bat, he'll have the opportunity to sit and learn from Christian Kirk. If he ends up being a highly productive wideout in the NFL, the wait will then have paid off.