NFL player comparisons for Steelers TE Darnell Washington

Steelers, Marcedes Lewis
Steelers, Marcedes Lewis / John Fisher/GettyImages
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Low-end NFL comparison: Josh Oliver

If Washington proves to be a quality blocker in the NFL but doesn't progress much as a pass-catcher, I likely low-end comparison could be a player like Josh Oliver. This isn't bad, all things considered, and Oliver has a quality niche as one of the better run-blocking tight ends in the league.

Listed at 6'5'' and 259 pounds, Oliver doesn't quite have the same freakish size or length that Washington possesses, but that doesn't hold him back from being a physical mauler in the running game from the snap. Like Washington, Oliver was a former third-round pick (69th overall) back in 2019.

Oliver actually started his career with the Jaguars but fell out of favor very quickly in Jacksonville. He played just 4 games as a rookie before landing on IR, and he never logged a snap during the 2020 season. Over the past two years with Baltimore, Oliver finally started to carve out a role as the in-line tight end, and he developed into one of the better blocking tight ends in the league in 2022.

Still, Oliver has just 230 receiving yards since coming into the league as a third-rounder in 2019. Now he's on his third NFL team after signing a very respectable three-year, $21 million deal with the Vikings. It took Oliver a while to leave his mark, and if Washington develops slowly for the Steelers, h could share a similar career route.