Georgia tight end Darnell Washington was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 93 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Washington was thought to be potentially a second round pick entering the draft, but fell to the third round due to medical concerns over his knee.
The first you’ll notice about Georgia Bulldogs tight end Darnell Washington is his size. But look a little closer, and you’ll see a unique NFL Draft prospect. Analysts aren’t quite sure what to make of his potential at the next level — is he a pure blocker, a playmaker or both? — but he’s got the potential to be a solid second-round pick this year.
In 13 games with the Bulldogs last year, Washington caught 26 passes for 417 yards and two touchdowns, and he was a second-team All-SEC selection.
“People who are 6-foot-7, 250 pounds are not supposed to move as fluidly as he does.” said.
Darnell Washington: Scouting Report
Washington’s ability as a blocker has turned some heads in the evaluation process. At 6’ 7” and over 270 pounds, he’s one of the most imposing players on the field. He can drive block on par with any offensive tackle—in fact, some scouts have wondered about whether or not he could transition to the tackle position at the next level. He’s no slouch in pass blocking either, able to cast aside would-be blitzers.
His size makes him tough to cover, and he can move the ball forward, in part, because he’s so hard to tackle once he’s got the ball in his hands.
Washington isn’t a fluid route runner. His best role would be seam routes, quick hooks and shorter plays in the first two levels. Naturally, he does a nice job on contested catches. That’s partly because of his size, but he also deserves credit for his strong hands.
“People who are 6-foot-7, 250 pounds are not supposed to move as fluidly as he does,” said ESPN’s Mel Kiper in a February mock draft.
Mock Draft landing spots
In Kiper’s most recent mock, he had Washington going to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 28th pick. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic had him going to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 26. Other landing spots in mock drafts include the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers.
Fantasy football implications
Though it will depend on where he lands, Washington’s fantasy value during his rookie season will be tied up with his ability in the red zone. His size and skills certainly make him a touchdown threat when the field gets shorter. He should get plenty of playing time as rookie thanks to his blocking ability, which could also be a drain on his fantasy production, depending on where he ends up going in the draft.
Of all the mock draft destinations, the Cowboys would be the most attractive for his immediate fantasy value. With high-frequency target Dalton Schultz gone, a big guy in the receiving corps like Washington could make an early impact. The Bengals will also need someone to fill Hayden Hurst’s opening, but Joe Burrow has some much more exciting targets at wide receiver that could limit Washington’s fantasy ceiling.