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Former NFL TE: Steelers Should Move Darnell Washington to Tackle



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

Steelers rookie tight end Darnell Washington is impressive. Even as the team as diversified their gameplan, Washington has turned out to be a massive reason why they can do that. His blocking chops are real, and as he finds more consistency, the Steelers continue to lean more on the massive tight end.

But not everyone thinks that Darnell Washington is naturally a tight end. Not just for his potential, but for his potential future career earnings. Former Buffalo Bills general manager and Steelers assistant general manager Doug Whaley sees Washington as a natural fit at tackle. But it was former NFL tight end Dorin Dickerson who believes that he could move there.

“I would slap 20 pounds on Darnell Washington and make him my right tackle,” Dickerson said. “I mean, he’s caught three ball this year, none over 10 yards. He’s barely in the passing game and what he does most is block, and he blocks very well. I’d put 20 pounds on him and make him my tackle.”

Whaley concurred with many of the sentiments.

“If I’m his agent, I’m walking into the Steelers’ offices and talking right to Omar [Khan] and saying, ‘Yes.’ I’m telling him the same thing you said and I heard you, ‘You’re gonna get paid as a right tackle,” Whaley said on 93.7 the Fan.

For Whaley, a massive part of the reason Washington should move is because he has little receiving production and teams just do not value blocking tight ends enough to make maximum career earnings. That is true, but Washington is a freak athlete that has upside in the receiving game.

“There’s very few teams that [use] blocking tight ends in the NFL, matter of fact, in football all together. So if you want to use your body as a corporation to get generational wealth, starting eating fella.”

Washington is just learning to become an NFL player. He still has room to grow as a blocker, though that part of his game is impressive. There are multiple things that Washington is learning at this time to become a better player in the future.

Washington is not in focus yet, but he can potentially earn more targets. Many quarterbacks, including Kenny Pickett, have vouched for Washington’s pass-catching abilities. It’s not something that the team has focused on just yet, and most of the tight-end production has come off-script.