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Darnell Washington one of the biggest wild cards for the 2023 Steelers offense

Of the many question marks surrounding the 2023 Steelers offense, Darnell Washington might be one of the biggest unkowns.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are building the foundation of what is hopefully a new, and exciting, offense. From top-to-bottom the Steelers have a young and inexperienced offense brimming with potential.

No matter what position you are looking at, the Steelers have someone at that position which could be viewed as an upgrade of their predecessor.

Isaac Seumalo over Kevin Dotson

Broderick Jones over Dan Moore Jr.

Cole Holcomb over Devin Bush

You get the picture, but what about the tight ends? What about the depth behind Pat Freiermuth?

Freiermuth is the proven starter, but behind him is anyone’s guess. Will rookie Darnell Washington supplant Zach Gentry on the roster? Will Gentry even make the roster with an increased role with Connor Heyward?

One thing is for certain, the Steelers are confident in the depth they have, and they don’t feel like they have to throw Washington into the fire before he’s ready. Steelers tight end coach Alfredo Roberts said that will allow them to take a more measured approach to working Washington into the mix.

“It takes a little bit of pressure off Darnell because of what you’ve got in that room,” Roberts said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “As he comes in, he can come in slowly and be allowed to grow. As he does that, I think he can be a real problem for people to handle.”

With Washington’s size and speed, he absolutely can be a mismatch nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. Will the Steelers, and offensive coordinator Matt Canada, be able to maximize the mismatches with Washington? That has yet to be seen, but the hope is Washington doesn’t just get an opportunity, but proves his on-field worth both in training camp and the preseason to earn playing time.

Throughout offseason workouts there has been a lot written about Washington’s “rough” receiving skills, like route running and sure-handedness, but on the other side of that debate would be his blocking. Washington is viewed as an extra tackle for a reason.

Will the Steelers and Washington get the most out of their 3rd Round pick? That’s what makes him a wild card in 2023...