Grading each pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 draft class
By Cory Rogers
Round 3 - Pick 93 (from Carolina) - Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
When I first started studying the prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft, I loved the idea of the Steelers taking Darnell Washington -- a beast of a Bulldog -- in the second round. Upon further review, I determined that Pittsburgh had too many needs to take a tight end at 32 though, and moved on.
I imagine that's similar to how it played out for the Steelers' brass as well. And they must have thought it was too good to be true when Washington was available in the third round. I mean, adding this 6-7, 264-pound tight end serves two purposes: 1) It provides the Steelers' offensive tackles with extra help from a blocking standpoint, and 2) It gives quarterback Kenny Pickett another offensive weapon.
I can't wait to see Washington line up next to fellow Steelers' draft pick and former Georgia Bulldog Broderick Jones and bulldoze whoever is in front of them on the goal line. Because you see, Washington is a people mover all by himself, as evidenced by his Georgia film. He also displayed his incredible leg strength and power on the blocking sled at the Combine and posted 21 reps on the bench for good measure.
According to NFLDraftBuzz.com, "Mount Washington" was rated as the No. 2 tight end on their board and also ranked in the 93rd percentile or better in height, hand size (11 inches), wingspan (83 6/8 inches), and 20-yard shuttle (4.08). In addition, he ran a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash.
Those qualities enable him to get down the field and make plays offensively. Even though he only caught 26 passes for 417 yards and 2 TDs last season as a junior, Washington looks like he could be Eric Green 2.0. His agility and athleticism are impressive when he has the ball in the open field.
While Pat Freiermuth is firmly entrenched as the starting tight end, look for Washington to be employed early and often in the Steelers' two tight end sets. He can also be utilized as a sixth offensive lineman if needed. This is a great pick for a team that wants to re-establish its running game.