Omar Khan Says Darnell Washington ‘Obviously Going To Be One Of Najee’s’ Best Friends,’ But ‘He’s Not Only A Blocker’

When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Darnell Washington in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, they knew they were getting a player who was downright nasty in the run game, so much so that he goes by the nickname “The Sixth Offensive Lineman.” While Washington, who played behind Mackey Award winner Brock Bowers at Georgia, didn’t have the gaudiest of receiving numbers in college, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute in that facet of the game. On The PM Team with Andrew Filliponi and Chris Mueller today, general manager Omar Khan talked about Washington being able to help out as a receiver, while also praising his run blocking.

“He’s not only a blocker. I’m confident saying that he’s gonna help in the pass game too. He’s obviously going to be one of Najee’s best friends I assume in the run game, but I’m confident that Darnell is going to help in the pass game too,” Khan said.

There’s no doubt that Washington will be a factor in the run game. With an increase in 12 personnel expected this year, Washington is going to see the field and hopefully be an absolute mauler like he was in college. If he can block to that level, there’s no doubt that Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren will love him.

Washington only had 48 receptions for 775 yards and three touchdowns during his collegiate career, but at 6’7, he’s a big target and he’s shown the ability to be successful in the pass game. His run blocking is going to be what gets him on the field early, but those opportunities to see the field could open up chances for him as a receiver. If Washington is able to contribute even half as much as a receiver as he’s expected to in the run game, Pittsburgh will have hit a grand slam with his selection.

The potential is there for Washington. The Steelers can play him inside and flex tight end Pat Freiermuth out to the slot, and Washington can provide assistance chipping EDGE rushers before running a route and providing a very big safety outlet for quarterback Kenny Pickett. His 6’7 size will surely play well in the red zone, as well. With 205 yards after the catch, Washington has also shown he can be a weapon with the ball in his hands, and bringing him down won’t be an easy task for an opposing offense. The Steelers could use Freiermuth as more of a vertical threat at tight end while Washington provides help closer to the line of scrimmage, as a lot of his targets were in that range while he was at Georgia.

Washington is probably the rookie I’m most excited to watch this season. He just provides help for the Steelers in so many ways. While I’m confident he’s going to be really talented as a blocker and help in the run game and be Harris’ best friend with his ridiculous blocking ability for the position, I’m excited to see if he can become more of a receiving threat at the NFL level, as Khan thinks he can. If that’s the case, look out.

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