Reports on Steelers rookie TE Darnell Washington have been a little bit of a mixed bag through the first several training camp practices. He showed up big on Tuesday, however, in the team’s first padded practice when HC Mike Tomlin asked him to go against LB T.J. Watt in the day’s backs-on-backers drill.
The backs-on-backers drill sets linebackers against running backs, fullbacks, and in this case, tight ends, with the 1-on-1 matchup providing linebackers the opportunity to practice their pash rushing skills, while the blockers work on their skills in pass protection.
As the team continues to work through questions on the offensive line, including whether or not LT Broderick Jones will open up the season over veteran Dan Moore Jr. However, one thing is clear — Washington’s ability as a blocker will quickly make him a favorite of QB Kenny Pickett and RB Najee Harris alike. Washington didn’t allow a single pressure in 31 snaps as a pass blocker in his 2022 season with Georgia, also ranking top-12 among tight ends with an 81.3 run-blocking grade.