Darnell Washington Scouting Report and NFL Draft Profile
Darnell Washington Scouting Report: Georgia Bulldogs, Tight End, #0
2023 NFL Draft Measurements
6’7″ / 264 lbs.
Darnell Washington 40 Time – 4.64
Darnell Washington Draft Profile
Washington is a former 4-star recruit out of Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to 247sports, he was the best player in the state of Nevada in the 2020 recruiting class. They also had him ranked as the 2nd best athlete in the nation behind Drew Sanders and ranked 2 spots above Jordan Addison. While achieving this status, he received 35 Division I offers. After receiving all of these offers, Washington decided to visit 5 schools before making his decision. These schools included Tennessee, Miami (FL), Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. After visiting all of these schools, Washington committed and signed to Georgia in January 2020.
In his 3 seasons at Georgia, he had a very solid career. As a true freshman, he played in 4 games where he recorded 7 receptions for 166 yards. His sophomore season, he played in twice the amount of games. In those games, he recorded 10 receptions for 154 yards and 1 touchdown. Finally, his junior season was his best by far. He played in 13 games where he recorded 28 receptions for 454 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Darnell Washington Strengths
Regardless of where Washington is lined up, he is most likely stronger than the person he is lined up against. When lined up against press coverage, he uses his strength and long arms to effortlessly fight through the pressure. At the top of his route stem, he relies on his physicality to allow him to get open in the middle of the field. Washington also displays amazing play strength when he is run-blocking. Even though he stands at 6’7″, Washington does a good job of keeping his hips low when blocking. This allows him to use his power to its full extent. If you want to see what I’m talking about, go watch his game against Oregon last season. Or, you can watch his NFL Combine highlights and see how he did on the sled push drill.
Darnell Washington is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. That is primarily due to his amazing size and catch radius that comes along with that. At the NFL Combine, Washington officially measured at 6’7″ with an arm length of 34 3/8″ and 11″ hands. Pair that up with amazing body control and the ability to adjust to throws around his frame, you have a future All-Pro Tight End.
Although it is very difficult to miss hitting Darnell Washington in stride, he does a good job of manipulating his body on the run to make catches outside of his frame. He is also good at adjusting his body in the air to make catches above defenders. When getting ready to make the catch, he displays his incredible hand size and grip strength to hold onto the ball through contact. This also helps him make catches with one hand in clutch situations.
Although Washington is very dangerous in the passing game, he is at his best when he is run-blocking. As we saw at the Combine, Washington is very light on his feet given his size. This allows him to quickly get across the line and pull block for the running back. His quick feet and physicality also allow him to quickly fight through pressure and get to the second level. Not only does Washington use his power to win blocks, but he also has a broad understanding of blocking angles. This allows him to open up run lanes for his running back.
Some people may disagree with me putting his route running as a strength, but hear me out. Washington is not a deep-threat tight end by any means, but he does a good job of getting open on short-intermediate routes. This is primarily due to him using his physicality to fight through pressure at the line of scrimmage. Then he uses his acceleration to quickly stem his route. Although he lacks the ability to sink his hips and change direction on a dime, I would not be drafting him to do that. Instead, he uses his physicality to keep defenders away from him. Then he can use his insane catch radius and grip strength to make a play.
As I have mentioned several times throughout this article, Washington is surprisingly quick for his size. At the Combine, he ran a 4.64 40 which was the 6th quickest time. He also tied for the 2nd quickest 10-yard split. This quickness comes into play when he is running short routes to the outside where he can be hit in stride. Then he can start to work his way upfield and shed tackles by using his speed and physicality. Washington also has good balance for his size. This allows him to stay on his feet after getting hit. It also allows him to stay in bounds when running along the sideline.
Darnell Washington Weaknesses
Although Washington has solid speed and acceleration given his size, it is not enough for him to separate from defenders in the second level. This forces him to rely on his physicality to rack up yards after the catch. Washington also lacks the agility needed to shake defenders in open space.
When blocking, I don’t have many concerns surrounding his game. But, I do have some concerns surrounding his hand placement when blocking. At the point of attack, Washington has a tendency to place his hands on the outside of the breastplate or even up by the shoulder pad. In reality, he should work on placing each hand on the defender’s pectoral so he can force them vertically and onto their heels.
Darnell Washington Draft Stock
As of today, NFL Mock Draft Database has Darnell Washington as the 33rd-best prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. This is good enough to earn him a 2nd round grade. Although, there are many conversations surrounding whether or not he is a 1st-rounder. Personally, there are only 2 tight ends worth taking in the first round. Those tight ends are Michael Mayer and Dalton Kincaid. Once those two are off the board, I believe that Washington will be the next one taken.
Final Thoughts on Darnell Washington Scouting Report
Darnell Washington is one of my favorite prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Personally, I would have to agree with this ranking. Although I have him as my tight end number three, I love the upside that he has and how he will be able to fit in almost any offensive scheme. He is a solid route runner with an insane catch radius who can make plays all over the field. Washington is the best run-blocking tight end in this draft class due to his size, strength, and aggressiveness. The only concerns that I have surrounding his game is his hand placement when blocking and separation quickness in the second level.
Darnell Washington Player Comparison
Martellus Bennett but he also shows me glimpses of New York Giants Tight End Darren Waller.
Darnell Washington Scouting Report and Player Profile Analyst – Matthew Lewis