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Darnell Washington Earns Comparison to All-Pro TE

Justin Fields compared second year Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Darnell Washington to former All-Pro Jimmy Graham.

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Pittsburgh Steelers TE Darnell Washington

In his second season, the Darnell Washington hype train is already beginning. Washington believes he is due for a big season, as do many players and coaches around him. The 6-foot-7, 264-pound tight end had just ten targets a season ago, but Washington is set for a more advanced role in his second year. Combined with the multiple-use packages that Washington will be using in the Arthur Smith offense, it seems like a sure bet he will see more target volume.

Justin Fields and Russell Wilson are already liking Washington. But Fields had a particularly lofty comparison for him. Fields sees Washington as someone who can be dominant above the rim and compared him to former All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham.

Steelers TE Darnell Washington

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Darnell Washington at practice on Oct. 27, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“He’s a baller,” Fields told Jarrett Bailey of SB Nation. “You don’t get too many guys that big and that athletic. The fact that he’s 6’7”, close to 300 pounds running routes like that is just ridiculous. He’s a freak of nature. The last person I’ve seen even close to that size move that good was Jimmy Graham. So he’s a freak of an athlete and an awesome player for sure.”

How lofty is that comparison? Graham was a five-time Pro Bowler, an All-Pro selection, and racked up 8545 yards and 89 touchdowns over his NFL seasons. To say that anyone approaches what Graham is as a player is a high compliment. Fields has played with some talented tight ends, with Cole Kmet being a standout with the Bears.

Darnell Washington, though, is a unique player because of his frame. While Graham is the lofty upside projection, the realistic comparison might be Mercedes Lewis. Lewis was one of the best blockers in the entire NFL for over a decade, and while he never had the elite receiving production of his peers, Lewis outlasted most of them because he was so good as a blocker. Washington could project to fit into the NFL like that, but he should be a better-used red zone threat in his second season.

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Santino Tucci
Santino Tucci
June 3, 2024 6:06 pm

I hope Fields is a better player than he is at evaluating talent. No one who knows anything about football would compare Washington to Jimmy Graham in any way. If Washington lasts another 5 years on his bad knees, he might approach 100 career catches and 7 TD’s.

Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
June 4, 2024 10:11 am

as a true Steelers fan, all I want to see Darnell Washington get the ball more we already know that Darnell Washington is a good blocker