Initial grades for the Steelers impressive 2023 draft haul

Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones
Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers third-round pick: TE Darnell Washington

Grade: A+

Like the Jones trade in round one, I will also factor in the Steelers trading back and netting a fourth-round pick in this grade. To be honest, though, this pick was another A before the trade details were known. Darnell Washington is a rare breed of tight end, and landing him late in the third round was always going to get a high grade for this team.

Washington is a huge tight end that uses his size to bully defenders in the blocking game. He jokingly refers to himself as the “sixth offensive lineman” and seemingly takes great pride in his ability to throw a block. For a team that is focused on getting more physical and focused on a running game, Washington is a great offensive fit.

He has untapped potential as a receiver though, possessing soft hands, a hard-to-cover frame, and good athleticism given his frame. His route running is raw and he wasn’t heavily featured as a receiving threat in school, so there is a lot of projection here.

For a late third-round pick though, even if he just resumed his role as a blocker, that is fine value. There are some medical concerns that dropped him this far into the draft, but trading back and netting some more picks while also landing a potential top tight end is great value and earns this team yet another high grade.