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2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)

As the NFL season winds down, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL draft scouting reports before the combine in March. Here’s a look at Darnell Washington.

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2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)

Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)

6’7” – 270 lbs.

Background:

Five-star recruit who also played basketball in high school. Caught seven passes for 166 yards as a freshman, then managed 10-154-1 (15.4) over seven games as a sophomore, the limited appearances being due to a broken foot that required surgery. Enjoyed a more productive junior season of 29-454-2 (16.2).

Positives:

Massive tight end with an unmatched combination of size/bulk for the position. Was asked to line up inline roughly two-thirds of the time, but also as an H-Back and even split out wide on occasion to try and create size mismatches. Has a lot of potential as a blocker, with the lower-body strength to hold the point of attack; flashes the ability to jolt defenders on contact, and generally does a pretty good job of engaging with form. Shows good effort when seeking out opponents in space and works to sustain through the whistle. Presents a massive target for his quarterback, with the ability to bring in passes away from his frame and adjust to throws away from his frame with better body control and flexibility than anticipated. Was trusted to climb the ladder and come down with contested catches in traffic; could eventually develop into a major red-zone threat. Shows some attention to detail and effort to sink his hips as a route-runner. Better after the catch than anticipated; a load to bring down, with some elusiveness (averaged 7.5 yards after catch for his career).

Negatives:

Pretty much a size-based project at this point, with just three career touchdown catches; was never really a focal point of the team’s passing attack, although he did make his junior year his most productive. Relatively simple route tree that included a lot of crosses and over routes, some of which came on delayed releases. Lacks suddenness at the stem to separate against man coverage. Hands are adequate but left a few opportunities on the table, dropping five career passes (ten percent of catchable balls). Caught only half of his career contested-catch opportunities. Not quite where he should be as a blocker; does a pretty good job of lining up opponents, but has a tendency to fall off of blocks or get disconnected. Has some trouble dealing with quickness. Bigger and more workmanlike than he is nasty and physical. Lapses into throwing his body around at times. Foot injury will require further medical investigation.

Summary:

Has a ton of potential because of his frame and his surprising athleticism, but was never really able to leverage those gifts to dominate opponents as either a receiver or blocker, so whoever drafts him is going to have to be patient, working with him to clean up his technique as a blocker and diversifying his route tree in the passing game. Looked like more of a mid-rounder on tape but appears destined to go considerably higher.

Projection: Round 2-3

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