Las Vegas Raiders 7-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Early FA edition
For most of the off-season, we have been mocking several tight ends to the Raiders but only as a replacement for Foster Moreau who looked likely to leave as a free agent. This week that all changed as the Raiders traded away star tight end Darren Waller and created a new need on the roster that did not exist at the start of the week.
Some of the issues that the coaching staff reportedly had with Waller were related to his blocking so we use the 38th overall pick on a player that should have no issues with blocking in Darnell Washington. The former Georgia Bulldog is the same height as Waller at 6-6 but is nearly 30 lbs heavier at 264 lbs.
He was one of the stars of the combine as he showed off an impressive combination of size, speed, and strength in all the major drills.
The only question about Washington is his lack of high-end statistics and the fact that he was targeted just 45 times over three years in Athens. His best season was in 2022 as he recorded 28 catches for 454 yards and two touchdowns.
He was a bit-part player in one of the most powerful offenses in college football but it’s understandable why his target share was so low.
Despite the lack of statistics, Washington is looking like a potentially great prospect though a historically deep tight end class could see him last until this point in the draft if other teams want guys with better numbers. He fits the bill as an elite blocker and even if it takes him time to pick up the complexities of this offense, he will be able to make a contribution immediately as a blocker.