UNITY TWP., Pa — Steelers TE Darnell Washington did not have the best week last week without the pads on. But once the pads went on, it seemed like he transformed into the guy you saw at Georgia on tape. To say the least, Washington is a guy who excites and shocks with his massive size and speed, but he sticks out in a big way.
Just right off the rip on Thursday, Washington gave the team everything they needed to see right away. On a two-minute drive, Washington finished the drive off after a timeout. Darnell Washington caught an out route for 8 yards. However, the clock was running and with one last play, the team dialed up a seam route to the big tight end. He made a nice spinning grab and was ruled down at the one by the referees to be tackled by Tre Norwood, but Mike Tomlin overruled it and said that the 6-foot-7, 265-pound unit would have bowled over Norwood. I agree, a touchdown and a successful drive.
Earlier in the day, he kicked out Quincy Roche on a great block to clear the lane for Anthony McFarland. The blocking has been all evident. And the role that Washington should have with this team is clear as day. Washington is a monster. I’m not sure how you don’t see the role here. Let him kick defensive ends up front and run him up the seam. He can be a red zone target with his size in select areas. That’s his role in year one. It’s pretty easy.
Mike Tomlin sees that and is not going to let Washington’s strengths fall to the wayside. It should be wholly expected for Washington to be a solid contributor to the team this year. He can help Pat Freiermuth become more productive in the passing game as a result.