The Steelers selected tight end Darnell Washington from the University of Georgia 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.
"The emotion is crazy. This is a dream come true," said Washington. "Not only that, it comes with perks playing with my old teammate, George (Pickens) and Broderick Jones being on the same team. It's hard for me to speak right now because of how happy I am. Just to be a Steeler. A great franchise. To become a part of that is amazing.
"When I saw (the number), I took a Top 30 (visit) there. I had a special connection. I am not going to say I knew it was going to be the Steelers, but I had a good feeling. One of the best feelings in the world was seeing my phone ring."
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.
Washington is 6-7, giving the Steelers a huge target at the tight end position.
"Really excited about what he can bring to the table," said offensive coordinator Matt Canada. "Versatile guy that can block. How physically he plays. Really excited about it.
"He is a giant human being that takes pride in blocking. He enjoys being a blocker. He has been quoted saying he is a sixth offensive lineman. He understands what his body can do. He is definitely a blocker. He is a really good person. Likes football. Really excited about him.
"He is a huge human being."
5 catches vs. Mississippi State, 2022
78 receiving yards vs. Vanderbilt, 2022
Long reception of 38 yards vs. Cincinnati, 2021 (2020 season)
2022: Has started at TE in 14 of 15 games to date and has 27 catches for 440 yards and one TD thus far...had two catches for 33 yards in season-opening win over Oregon...named a team co-captain for the Kent State and Auburn games...caught two passes for 33 yards, including a 28-yarder, in win over Samford....three catches for 47 yards in win over Florida...three catches for 64 yards in win at Missouri..had a career-high five receptions for 60 yards in win at Mississippi State...also had his first TD catch of the season in the game...then-career high four catches for 78 yards in win over Vanderbilt...had one catch for nine yards in win over Ohio State in the CFP Semifial Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl...had one catch for 28 yards in the CFP National Championship Game...named to the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation's outstanding collegiate tight end.
2021: Played in 11 games, starting in six...injury from pre-season camp kept him sidelined through the first four games...finished the season with 10 catches on the season for 154 yards (15.4 avg.)...saw his first action of 2021 in win over Arkansas...caught his first pass of the season, a 25-yarder, in win at #18 Auburn...first starting assignment came in win over #11 Kentucky...caught an 18-yard second-quarter pass vs. Georgia Tech...only TD catch of the season was a 5-yarder vs. Alabama.
2020: Started seven of Georgia's 10 games at TE...finished season with seven catches for 166 yards...season-high three catches came in Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati and included a season-long 38-yard reception...season highs of receiving yards (61) came in win at Missouri...had one second-quarter reception for 26 yards in season-opening win at Arkansas...had a 33-yard catch in win at Kentucky.
High School: Desert Pines HS, coached by Tico Rodriguez...selected to play for Team Pressure in the 2020 Under Armour All-America Game, where he committed to Georgia in front of a national ESPN2 audience...247Sports.com composite five-star prospect...ranked as the #23 overall prospect nationally, the #1 athlete nationally and the top prospect in Nevada...ESPN.com five-star prospect, #19 overall prospect nationally, #1 tight end prospect nationally and #1 prospect in Nevada...PrepStar Magazine _five-star prospect, Top 150 Dream Team, #1 Athlete, and ranked #13 prospect nationally...rivals.com five-star prospect, #32 overall prospect nationally, #2 overall athlete prospect and #1 prospect in Nevada...honored as the No. 16 prospect nationally in the _USA Today_ Chosen 25 in the preseason...as a senior, helped lead Desert Pines to the No. 3 state ranking, an 11-1 record, 43.6 points per game and the 2019 NIAA Class 4A state semifinals...hauled in 31 catches for 586 receiving yards and four touchdowns his senior season, averaging 18.9 yards per reception...also played defensive end for DPHS, notching 15 tackles, four for loss, and an interception...selected to play for Team Driplomats at the 2019 Opening Finals, where he threw the top powerball throw (51 feet) on record and caught 17 passes for three touchdowns in 7-on-7 play...recognized with the 2018-19 _Las Vegas Review Journal Richard Nelson Courage Award for overcoming obstacles to achieve athletic success...named to the 2018 USA Today All-USA and NIAA All-State Class 4A Second Team offenses following his junior season...also competed for the Jaguars varsity basketball team, averaging 11 points and 12 rebounds per game as a junior.
Personal: Full name DARNELL ERNEST WASHINGTON...intended major: Health & Physical Education...recipient of the Atlanta-Greensboro Football Scholarship.