Darnell Washington DRAFT PROFILE – 2023 NFL DRAFT
Darnell Washington NFL DRAFT SCOUTING REPORT INTRODUCTION
Darnell Washington, a highly skilled football player and basketball player from Desert Pines High School, was an exceptional talent during his high school career. Washington was highly sought after by college football recruiters and was rated as a 4-star recruit. After considering several options, he ultimately decided to join the Georgia Bulldogs football team.
In his freshman season in 2020, Washington played in 10 games, during which he made 7 receptions for 166 yards, with an impressive average of 23.7 yards per reception. However, his quarterback rating when targeted was less than stellar at 59.3.
The following year, as a sophomore in 2021, Washington’s performance continued to impress as he played in 11 games and had 10 catches for 154 yards, averaging 15.4 yards per catch. He also scored one touchdown and, in pass protection, gave up no pressures and no sacks.
In the 2022 season, Washington’s junior year, he played in 13 games, and his stats showed continued improvement. He hauled in an impressive 26 catches for 417 yards, averaging 16.0 yards per catch, with 2 touchdowns. His quarterback rating when targeted skyrocketed to 105.9, demonstrating his exceptional abilities as a receiver.
Darnell Washington DRAFT PROFILE
Darnell Washington is a force to be reckoned with in college football, thanks to his imposing physique and athletic abilities. Known for his ability to impact a game right off the bus, Washington’s most notable skill set is his talent as a blocker. Whether he is driving defenders in the run game or chipping in pass protection, his presence is felt on the field. He has the ability to move defenders vertically and wash them down the line of scrimmage, making him a valuable split-flow blocker in split-zone concepts. This enables easy access to the opposite flat regions of play-action, making him a reliable option in the passing game.
As a receiver, Washington is valuable up the seams vertically, quick curls/hooks, and in-breakers versus zone. He can be a hassle to bring down one-on-one in space due to his imposing frame. He has the power to stiff-arm or leap over defenders, and he is challenging to contain on crossing patterns, either deep or shallow. To get the best out of him, Washington needs to be placed in situations that remove the constant stopping, breaking, and changing directions. This enables him to stress linebackers to stay in phase and play the ball at his level, generating big plays in the passing attack off of play-action.
Looking forward, Washington projects as an in-line traditional Y tight end. He is an outstanding asset on running downs due to his blocking prowess, working in both gap and zone-blocking schemes. With more opportunities and targets, he has the potential to develop into a reliable passing option and TE1 for an offense. His routes should attack the seams and across the middle of the field off hard play-action, as he is a zone-beater that can find soft spots to settle into. He also brings outstanding potential in the red zone as a blocker and receiver, making him a potential TE2 at worst.
Darnell Washington 40 YARD DASH- 4.8 SECONDS
Darnell Washington NFL DRAFT PLAYER COMPARISON- Marcedes Lewis
SCOUTING REPORT- STRENGTHS
Darnell Washington is a massive tight end, standing at an impressive 6 feet 7 inches and weighing in at 270 pounds (almost offensive tackle size). He possesses exceptional power and drive-blocking abilities that are comparable to those of a seasoned tackle. Washington’s prowess as a blocker is nothing short of elite, especially when it comes to run blocking. In fact, he has often been mistaken for a seasoned pulling guard due to his outstanding abilities on the field.
As a pass blocker, Washington is equally outstanding, capable of easily handling blitzing linebackers on the edge. In the 72 instances when he was used strictly in pass protection, he didn’t give up a single pressure, demonstrating his remarkable capabilities on the field.
In addition to his blocking abilities, Washington boasts an elite catch radius and possesses impressive soft, strong hands that enable him to pull down even the most errant of passes. He is a powerful open-field runner, displaying remarkable agility and surprising quickness and speed for a player of his size.
Washington’s knee-bend and technique are good, and he shows decent power when his hands hit the target. His long arms allow him to play even bigger than his size, which is nothing short of impressive. Furthermore, he has a frame that can carry even more weight, making him a valuable asset on the field.
Washington is a coordinated hands catcher who does a nice job digging out low throws. He is very good with the ball in his hands, often able to fend off defenders with a straight arm and displaying a violent running style after the catch. His tapered build and strong hands enable him to rip the ball back with ease when defensive backs manage to get a hold of it.
Washington is an exceptional tight end with remarkable abilities on the field. His size, strength, and power make him an outstanding blocker, both in the run and pass games. His soft hands and impressive catch radius enable him to be a valuable asset in the passing game, while his open-field running abilities are nothing short of remarkable. With his outstanding skills and potential for growth, Washington is poised to become one of the best tight ends in college football.
SCOUTING REPORT- WEAKNESSES
While Washington’s size and frame are significant assets, they also present some natural disadvantages. As a run blocker, he does not consistently get his feet underneath him to drive defenders off the ball with good leverage. Due to his frame, it is difficult for him to be the “lowest man” in these sequences.
Although he is athletic for his size, he is not an overly explosive player, making it challenging for him to be a natural separator versus tight-man coverage. He does not break in and out of his breaks with optimal fluidity, making him a less appealing option to some coaches. He can show good burst and straight line speed, but doesn’t run a diverse set of routes like some other tight ends in this class.
Despite his undeniable talent, Washington’s stat sheet does not show the full extent of his promise or skill set. He was not heavily involved in the Bulldogs’ passing offense, which may turn some coaches off.
Georgia TE Darnell Washington NFL DRAFT SUMMARY
The Georgia TE is has elite upside and could very well end up being one of the best players in the draft. He’s unbelievably athletic and is average in only a few categories. His career production on the Bulldogs were sporadic and was certainly average at times. Washington should be selected by a team who commits to really using him and taking advantage of everything he has to offer.
- Best blocking skills in the entire tight end draft class
- Great pass catcher
- Big play possibility on every down
- Limited route runner
- Drops have been an issue
- How will he fare against physical defenders?
Washington is our 48th overall rank on our 2023 NFL draft big board. He’s our 3rd ranked tight end, but I admit that he may very well be the first one off the board come April. The Georgia standout could be seen as someone with too much potential to pass up on late in the first round or scouts could see him as too big and bulky compared to tight ends like Evan Engram, Travis Kelce, and Darren Waller.