Is Darnell Washington on 2023 fantasy radars?
Matthew Berry, Jay Croucher and Connor Rogers look at the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbing TE Darnell Washington in the 2023 NFL Draft and explain whether or not he'll have fantasy relevance in his rookie year.
JAY CROUCHER: OK, pick 93, Steelers take tight end, Darnell Washington. Now, Washington was never quite the favorite to be the first tight end taken, of all the tight ends. But he was in the mix for that, with the same odds, similar odds to Michael Mayer, Dalton Kincaid, in that range. But he goes 93, Connor. Why did he fall?
CONNOR ROGERS: It sounds like there was some rumors of a concerning medical issue with Darnell Washington. Because you look at the skill set, the size, and the athleticism, and this is a no-brainer top 40 to top 50 pick in the draft, without the concerning medicals. Let's just talk about the player right here.
If you're Najee Harris, you're smiling ear to ear, right now, knowing what this guy can do in the run game. Not only is he athletic enough to get to his spots, he could drive block defensive linemen and edge defenders off of the ball, and down the field. Pass-blocking snaps, he had 28 in 2022, never allowed a pressure. So he's basically a sixth offensive lineman that can also run really fast up the seam, and catch the jump ball. I'm fascinated what a team could do to unlock his receiving ability in the red zone because he's bigger than everybody. And he showed at the combine, the ability to go up and make the spectacular catches as well.
So Darnell Washington, such a unique player in this draft. I love him. I hope that he's healthy and ready to go. Because the Steelers, they're just drafting everybody that could line up and punch you in the face.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, look. They got an absolute steal here. So it's a great value pick for Pittsburgh. I think in terms of fantasy value, he's going to-- this is what his fantasy value this year is going to be like. You're watching the Steelers, you're going to be like, ugh. Because he's going to score some random touchdown. You're like, why couldn't that have gone to Diontae Johnson or George Pickens or Pat Freiermuth? You know?
I mean, like the fact of the matter is, is you've got those guys, plus Najee Harris, plus Allen Robinson is there, remember. So to your point, big body that could, you know, catch five or six touchdowns over the course of the season, be a red zone threat. But on a run first team that has a lot of mouths to feed, I can't see him having any fantasy value now or honestly in the future, as long as Pat Freiermuth is there. Right?
I mean like Freiermuth is a really nice pass catching tight end. Again, great pick for the Steelers. He's going to help the run game. He's going to help the physicality of a Mike Tomlin team, which always is a team you don't want to face, especially late in the season. But it's hard to see him having consistent fantasy value as long as Pat Freiermuth is healthy.