The Green Bay Packers need to draft Darnell Washington. No ifs, ands, or buts; they need to draft the Georgia tight end. He is absolutely perfect for the Packers. It’s kinda like if Matt LaFleur could possibly make the perfect tight end for his offense in a lab, it would be Darnell Washington. And maybe I’m just high on him because of his wonderful performance at the NFL Combine, I don’t care. Draft him at all costs.
Darnell Washington just finished his junior year at Georgia where he had 28 receptions for 454 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 2022. He wasn’t a big time-receiving threat in college but that wasn’t because he wasn’t capable of it. He had two big reasons why he didn’t produce more statistically for Georgia:
- Being a receiving threat wasn’t his role in the Georgia offense.
- He was playing behind probably the best tight end in college football in Brock Bowers.
When Washington declared for the NFL Draft, draft experts and orators (because not all are indeed experts-me included) immediately had in him going toward the end of the first round or maybe in the second round. This is no longer the case. After a phenomenal NFL combine, I would be shocked (once again, not an expert) if he made it to the second round, nonetheless pick 45 (the Packers 2nd round pick).
As a 6’7″ 264lb behemoth of a man, Washington ran his 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds. That is just a fast as some much smaller wide receivers. His vertical jump was 31″ and his broad jump was 10′ 2″. Darnell Washington has a RAS (Relative Athletic Score) of 9.90 out 10 (by the way, the Packers have a history of drafting highly athletic players).
Darnell Washington also performed in multiple on field events at the Combine including sled work, passing routes, fade work, and the gauntlet. He excelled at all of them. In the sled drill, he looked like an offensive tackle and dominated it in comparison to other tight ends doing the same drill.
His pass-catching was on point. There was some concern with him running through the gauntlet but he put those concerns to bed rather quickly. Darnell was unfazed.
And then to add the cherry on top, Darnell Washington had arguably the best catch of the night with this one-handed masterpiece on a beautiful fade route:
The Packers have a huge need at tight end. The only tight ends they currently have on the roster are Josiah Deguara, who is more of a fullback than tight end, and a couple of practice squad guys. So the Packers obviously have a need. (For more reasons on why the Packers have a huge need at tight end, check out this amazing article by Jared Prugar.)
There are many great tight ends in this draft. Daniel Jeremiah even said that this tight end group is the best he has seen in ten years. The reason why Darnell Washington in particular is the best for the Packers is because of his ability as a blocker. If you draft him, you basically get an additional lineman. It would be like the Packers never lost Mercedes Lewis and the clock rolled back a decade and a half for Lewis.
Another reason for wanting to draft Washington is the fact that he is so big and he can run. Having a young quarterback like Love with an option of such a large target like Washington would be huge for Jordan Love’s development.
And finally, the Packers haven’t had an elite tight end since probably Jermichael Finley (if you call him an elite talent). Don’t get me wrong, the Packers have had tight ends with great seasons such as 2020 Robert Tonyan and 2016 Jared Cook, but they haven’t had a consistent threat at the position in some time. This is the draft to finally get that tight end and I believe it should be Darnell Washington.
Now if only they could find a way to get another 1st round pick so they can draft Jaxon Smith-Njigba too.——————
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.
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