The Dallas Cowboys have been among the best offenses in the NFL under Mike McCarthy’s tenure. As he enters his fourth season, McCarthy said during the NFL Combine he wants to focus on running the football now that he’s taking over as the play caller.
To do that, Dallas needs to put more big bodies up front and move the defensive line around for Tony Pollard. In his latest mock draft, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic thinks drafting one of the freakiest athletes ever to enter the NFL would really help the offense.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
This is a Texas-sized tight end at 6 feet 7, 264 with 34 3/8-inch arms and 11-inch hands. But it’s how well he moves that makes him so hard for the Cowboys to pass up. To run a 4.64 40 at that size and a 4.08 20-yard shuttle time is rare. A 10-2 broad jump also underscores that unique athleticism. The crazy part was his leaping, twisting, one-handed grab along the sidelines at the combine during routes on air might’ve been the most impressive thing he did there. At Georgia, Washington wasn’t the headliner of the tight ends — that’s Brock Bowers, who isn’t draft-eligible until 2024. Washington still caught 28 passes for 454 yards and two TDs last season and was a dominant blocker and tone-setter.
The Coaching Intel
“That guy is huge. He’s physical. Can really run and catch. I think that dude is great.”
“He is impressive. Just how he improved his body since he was there is really impressive. Such a good blocker.”
“Our safety tried to hit him and ended up getting knocked out on the play.”
Washington is undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind prospect. He measured in at 6’7” and 264 lbs at the NFL combine. He has the biggest wingspan and second-biggest hand size ever recorded in combine history. Washington also ran a 4.64 40-yard dash, which for his size, is unbelievable.
Washington wasn’t used much as a pass-catching threat at Georgia. Their offense has fellow tight end Brock Bowers, who appeared on Feldman’s freak list, to catch all of the passes. In 2022, No. 0 had 28 receptions for 454 yards and two touchdowns. Not the production a team would want from a first-round tight end.
Darnell Washington doing Darnell Washington things at the NFL Combinepic.twitter.com/MwiP12qg5Q— Kipp Adams (@KippLAdams) March 5, 2023
However, Washington made a name for himself as a run blocker acting as a sixth offensive lineman. Even though the receiving production isn’t there, scouts could argue his potential was limited by Bowers being that much better of a weapon for the offense. Even at the combine, Washington flashed his potential with a one-handed grab.
Taking the tight end from Georgia at No. 26 would undoubtedly be the Cowboys betting on his traits to become extraordinary. Having established players like Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot at the position already would help his development.
If Mike McCarthy wants to run the ball, having a tight end who could block like a tackle seems like a competitive advantage Dallas would see as too good of an opportunity to pass up on.