New Orleans Saints 2023 NFL draft scouting report: Darnell Washington
It’ll be hard for the New Orleans Saints to please everyone with their first round draft selection in the 2023 NFL draft. Everyone you ask wants something different, so what should the Saints actually do? Might the answer be someone at a position that many view as not worth a first round draft pick?
Darnell Washington is a former Georgia Bulldog, and also a giant. He stands at 6-foot-7 and weighs almost 270 pounds, this of course coming before his official combine measurements. He wasn’t the star of the Georgia offense, college tight ends rarely are, but he flashed plenty of NFL ability when he got the chance. He had 28 catches for 454 yards and 2 touchdowns this season. He was also recently linked to the Saints in ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft.
It’s hard to look at the former basketball player and not draw comparisons to former Saints star Jimmy Graham, and I think that there are actually a lot of similarities. The upside and natural talent is there for Washington to become that level of target in the NFL. Graham also had similar college production levels, which will be a large knock by evaluators of Washington.
Washington’s frame brings obvious pluses to the running game, and important part of any Saints offense. He’ll need to grow as a route runner, but pass catching is in his future in the league. Given his physical stature, he’ll be able to earn snaps immediately and just learn as he plays. Washington was also a team captain for multiple games this season, which is something that the Saints value highly in scouting college prospects.
The Saints need a long term answer at the position with Juwan Johnson a restricted free agent this spring and Adam Trautman entering the final year of his contract. Washington could be that guy either late in the first or early in the second round. It’s not the most important team need that they could fill, but when has that ever stopped New Orleans from going after a guy that they want?
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