Steelers TE Darnell Washington expecting a big season

When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected tight end Darnell Washington in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft, most pundits thought they got a steal. Washington is a freakish athlete and punishing blocker but very raw as a pass catcher.

All three of those things showed themselves last season. Despite playing the most snaps of any tight end on the roster (511) but was only targeted 10 times in the passing game. Washington feels like that is going to change this season and he expects to have a breakout season. He talked about it during OTAs when he addressed the media after practice.

“I’d say this year is different for me because I know the ropes of the NFL a little more. Last year was my rookie year so I was going into it like ‘I don’t really know what this is like.’ This year, I feel like I have more of a grasp on things,” Washington said. “Personally, I do [expect a big year]. At the same time, I still have to build trust with the OC for him to call what he wants to call, still got to build trust with the QBs, but yeah I think so.”

New offensive coordinator Arthur Smith brings a more tight-end-friendly offense to Pittsburgh but the depth chart is crowded. Pat Freiermuth and Connor Heyward are also hoping to see more targets and there are only so many to go around.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire