Learn more about Steelers third-round draft pick Darnell Washington in this edition of Five Fast Facts.
1. Washington, a tight end from the University of Georgia, was drafted in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the 93rd overall pick.
The Steelers traded with the Carolina Panthers, sending the Panthers the 80th pick overall. The Steelers acquired the Panthers third round pick, No. 93 overall, and a fourth-round pick, No. 132 overall.
2. Washington had 28 receptions for 454 yards and two touchdowns in 2022. For his career he has played in 36 games and has 45 receptions for 774 yards and three touchdowns.
3. Washington is 6-7, giving the Steelers a huge target at the tight end position and someone who uses that size in the receiving game and as a blocker.
"When I put it all together, I can be a mismatch," said Washington. "I can be anywhere on the field, whether that's running routes or if that's blocking. I need to put it all together. Once I do that, I will be a complete tight end. I am not complete yet. It takes time. Being with Coach Alfredo (Roberts) and working on our game will make it happen.
"I enjoy blocking. I enjoy every aspect of the game. Blocking, running routes, I have done it all. Back in my days I used to play left tackle and I blocked a whole season. I have played receiver. I have played running back. I have done it all on the field. I enjoy every aspect of the game.
"It means the world to get the opportunity to be at this level now. I am just trying to prove everybody that passed on me wrong and that is what I plan on doing."
4. Washington spent time during his young life in foster care, bouncing from home to home without a stable life.
"It was when I was very young," recalled Washington, who doesn't have memories of what led to the situation. "I am not sure why it happened, what the situation was. I went into foster care around age three or four all the way up to third grade when I was about eight or nine years old.
"The time when I was in foster care, I was able to bounce around homes with one of my brothers, my older brother Ezekiel, who is now in the Marines. I have seven siblings, and they were in different homes, I guess. My brother and I just stuck together. It's hard to have all eight together."
5. Foster care wasn't the only struggle he faced. There were times, including when he was in high school, when he and his family were homeless, struggling to even have enough food to get through the day.
"There were times during my life when we were homeless, where I didn't have anywhere to go," shared Washington. "The most recent one was my freshman year in high school. Our best friend let us stay with them, then the school year ended, and they were moving. My mom threw all of our stuff in a U-Haul, and we went to the Walmart parking lot, and we were there for days and things like that until we were able to get a room at a motel. Not a hotel, a motel.
"From there we found some type of apartment that was lower end. I ended up getting a job, it was my sophomore or junior year of high school. I worked at Kohls and did that along with school and sports. I did that to help keep us stable. I did that throughout that year of high school until we were able to get help."
Take a look at photos of TE Darnell Washington at the Steelers 2023 rookie minicamp