BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — There might not be a pass-catcher in the 2023 NFL Draft with a rarer combination of size and strength than Georgia tight end Darnell Washington.
At 6-foot-7 and a lean 264 pounds, Washington proves to be a mismatch for both linebackers and defensive backs alike, as well as a sizable red zone threat.
Playing behind Brock Bowers, who won the 2022 John Mackey Award for most outstanding tight end in college football, Washington’s stats don’t necessarily jump off the page. The 21-year-old posted 454 receiving yards on 28 receptions along with two touchdowns last season as a member of the national champion Bulldogs.
However, as the old saying goes: you can’t teach size, and Washington believes he has untapped potential in the passing game.
“I feel like I got lots of untouched talent when it comes to that area,” Washington said at the NFL Draft Combine. “In high school, I was getting the ball like 60 times a season … When I tap in that potential, I feel like it’s just going to be crazy to see.”
Washington said he didn’t block much in high school, which made the transition to college a bit tougher. While his blocking technique is still a concern to some draft analysts, his size meant he often lined up as a sixth offensive tackle in the Georgia offense — and often played that role effectively.
“I wasn’t as physical [in high school] as I am now,” Washington said. “For [Georgia head coach Kirby Smart] to stay on my case, I love it, I enjoy it. It’s a blessing.”
While at Georgia, Washington was teammates with Bills running back James Cook, and the 21-year-old said “it would be an honor” to get the chance to reunite with Cook and play in Buffalo’s offense.
Washington is projected to be a first or second-round draft pick.
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Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.