The Cincinnati Bengals inked Hayden Hurst to a one-year deal this past offseason, and he has been absolutely phenomenal. However, the price to keep the former first-round pick could be steep.
Replacing Hurst would be easier said than done, but if the Bengals can’t retain the tight end, they may opt to draft one.
A program known for its use of tight ends this past season was the two-time national champion Georgia Bulldogs. The 6-foot-7 Darnell Washington may be one of the most dominant figures at the position in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.
That’s where NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has the Bengals heading with their first-round pick.
“Washington can function as a sixth offensive lineman in the run game, regularly using his massive frame (6-7, 270) to dominate at the point of attack. The two-time national champion is still growing and developing in the passing game, though,” Jeremiah wrote.
Washington was a strong option for Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett. While he totaled just 454 passing yards, the frame that Washington has should make him useful immediately. His potential and fit are other reasons why Washington makes sense for Cincinnati.
And with the offensive line likely to be a question mark again this offseason, Washington is a great blocker on the edge that could help the Bengals’ tackles next season.
Again, it’s still very early in the pre-draft process, but Washington could be one of the best-case scenarios late in the first round.