Although several mock drafts pegged TCU safety Ar’Darius Washington as a mid-round selection, many Horned Frog fans were shocked to see the talented defensive back finish the weekend without hearing his name called. However, Washington was immediately scooped up when the draft concluded, signing with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent and earning $100,000 in guaranteed dollars.
The Baltimore Ravens had the best UDFA signing in the NFL over the weekend— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) May 3, 2021
Ar'Darius Washington, TCU safety
Ranking the 10 best UDFA signings ⬇️https://t.co/kSpyyUwveI
A weak safety for the Horned Frogs, Washington most likely projects as either a free safety or perhaps even a nickel corner given his small frame (5 feet 8 inches and 178 pounds). The Ravens are young at the free safety position, with 2018 sixth-rounder DeShon Elliott currently projected as the starter next to veteran strong safety Chuck Clark. Elliott and backup free safety Jordan Richards will both expire after the 2021-22 season, meaning Baltimore could move on from both players next year.
It’s rare to see a safety who is 5’8/178. It’s even more rare for that player to make opponents flinch.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) March 8, 2021
Ar’Darius Washington plays like he’s 6’2/220 sometimes. pic.twitter.com/DBCK8Bzm4w
Enter Washington, who will likely open camp as either a third or fourth-string option in the Baltimore secondary with the potential to move up the depth chart. Washington was one of three TCU players to sign as undrafted free agents (Pro Wells, Artayvious Lynn), but he received considerably more guaranteed money than most UDFAs, meaning the Ravens may have seen value in signing a player many believed would be a Day 3 prospect. With Baltimore lacking free safety depth, Washington was an obvious fit for a team that some mock draft writers believed would take another TCU safety: Trevon Moehrig, who ultimately went to the Las Vegas Raiders in the second round.
Washington’s stock as an NFL prospect took a dramatic leap after a stellar 2019 campaign where, as a redshirt freshman, he recorded five interceptions and became one of the highest graded safeties in college football by Pro Football Focus. Although injuries slowed him down in 2020, Washington has earned praise for his tape and his instictive play from the safety position. While Washington may be one of the smaller players on the field, his production at TCU helped solidify a strong Horned Frog secondary, and he’ll now join a Baltimore defense that ranked sixth in passing defense (221 YPG allowed) last season.