Georgia TE Darnell Washington compared to NFL legend after combine
The NFL may have never seen an athlete quite like Georgia Bulldogs tight end Darnell Washington. He showed a unique combination of size and speed at the 2023 NFL combine, but his athletic profile is not unheard of. The NFL is a league of the best of the best after all.
In fact, Washington’s athletic profile compares very similarly to NFL legend Rob Gronkowski.
Who was Rob Gronkowski before he became the best tight end in the NFL with the New England Patriots? Gronkowski was the No. 42 pick of the 2010 NFL draft out of Arizona.
Gronkowski missed his last season at Arizona in 2009 due to a back injury. The 6-foot-6, 258-pound tight end recorded 1,197 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns over his first two collegiate seasons at Arizona.
Darnell Washington would love to have a NFL career similar to that of former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
In contrast, Washington recorded 774 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns over his three season career at Georgia. Washington did not have as much production in college as Gronkowski, but he played behind Brock Bowers, who is arguably the best college football tight end of all-time.
So, how are Washington and Gronkowski similar?
Both players have a great combination of size, speed and athleticism. Both tight ends are excellent blockers in the run game.
Darnell Washington posted a 10-foot-2 broad jump and a 31-inch vertical jump. The 6-foot-6, 264-pound tight end has the largest ever wingspan at his position in combine history (83.75 inches). Additionally, Washington’s 11-inch hands are the second-largest ever for a tight end at the combine.
Washington ran an impressive 4.64 second 40-yard dash, which is impressive at his size. Gronkowski ran a 4.68 second 40-yard dash at his pro day. Washington’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.88 is actually higher than Gronkowski’s RAS of 9.46.
Washington is considered the No. 72 prospect in the 2023 NFL draft. Washington ran the third-best 20-yard shuttle of any player at the combine with a 4.08 second time.
Next Gen Stats compared Washington to Gronkowski:
Darnell Washingon's size and speed profile is comparable to former All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski.
Darnell Washington ('23)
🔹 6'6 5/8", 264 lbs, 4.64 40
🔹 80 Athleticism Score
Rob Gronkowski ('10)
🔹 6'6 1/4", 264 lbs, 4.68 40
🔹 76 Athleticism Score pic.twitter.com/dgTq5JxK28
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 5, 2023
It is not realistic to expect Darnell Washington to have the same production in the NFL as Rob Gronkowski, but he could be just as good of a blocker and has the potential to grow into a great receiving threat as well.
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