Georgia tight end Darnell Washington was one of the hottest names heading into the 2023 NFL scouting combine — at least amongst Miami Dolphins fans. But after his performance on Saturday, the chance that he’s available when Miami is on the clock seems more and more unlikely by the day.
Standing at 6’6, 264 pounds, Washington put on a clinic at the combine. He ran a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash and had the second-fastest 20-yard shuttles among all wide receivers and tight ends at this weekend’s combine. (Only Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a faster time) He also made one of the most spectacular catches we may have ever seen at the combine.
However, one of the most appealing things about Washington isn’t his avenger-like frame, go-go gadget arms, or ability to bulldoze over defenders in the open field. No, the thing that makes Washington so appealing, ESPECIALLY in Mike McDaniel’s offense, is that he’s an #elite blocker. Something the Dolphins haven’t had in quite some time. Here he is, moving the blocking sled like it’s present-day Rey Mysterio Jr.
Washington to Miami does seem extremely, extremely unlikely, but there is a sliver of hope. As Three Yard Per Carry’s Chris Kouffman pointed out on Twitter, the average draft position for the second tight end coming off the board in the last ten NFL drafts is pick #53. The third tight end? Pick #66. Unfortunately, the Dolphins won’t be on the clock until day two (#51), thanks to Mr. Ross tampering with Tom Brady.
This is noteworthy because the 2023 NFL draft class is loaded with talented players. It also appears to be one of the better tight-end draft classes in recent memory. Some of the draft’s top tight ends include Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave, Iowa’s Sam LaPorta, South Dakota State’s Tucker Kraft, and Old Dominion’s Zack Kuntz, to name a few.
This 2023 TE Class is loaded. Here are just some of the RAS from the combine:— Cooper L. Goede (@CooperGoede) March 5, 2023
Zack Kuntz: 10.00
Luke Musgrave: 9.94
Darnell Washington: 9.90
Luke Schoonmaker: 9.75
Tucker Kraft: 9.52
Will Mallory: 9.39
Sam LaPorta: 9.25
Davis Allen: 8.78
Michael Mayer: 8.08
(RAS via @MathBomb) pic.twitter.com/tFUMWoSPqH
And then there’s Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, who was highly regarded as one of the best tight ends in this class heading into the combine. Kincaid, unfortunately, was unable to participate in the combine after suffering a minor fracture in his back. Could an NFL team have him ranked ahead of Washington, even after that impressive combine? Even more likely, could teams pass on one of the top-tier tight ends because this draft class is loaded with potential?
There’s also another option; the Dolphins could once again do something bold and trade up to acquire Washington if they feel like he can be the missing piece in Mike McDaniel’s offense. After all, adding a well-rounded player like Washington could cause fits for opposing defenses. Not only as a pass-catcher but as an additional offensive lineman in run situations.
Darnell Washington is a TE prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.90 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 11 out of 1020 TE from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/nuPxNPNuDU #RAS pic.twitter.com/lhXwQE9qtg— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 5, 2023
It’s a little too early to tell, and stranger things have happened, but for now, Darnell Washington will remain on my 2023 All-Pipe Dream list. Because after that combine, I can’t see a team like the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, or Los Angeles Chargers — who have a need for a tight end AND a first-round pick — passing on such an #elite player. Thankfully, for us Dolphins fans, this draft class is LOADED!
What are your thoughts on Darnell Washington’s impressive combine? Do you think the Dolphins should trade up for a player of his caliber? Is there another tight end that you desire? What do you think is Miami’s biggest need heading into free agency and the draft? Let us know in the comments section below!