2. Darnell Washington
Unfortunately for the Bengals, their hated rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, has two players on this list. First, a player can’t make the list of the toughest tight ends Cincinnati will play against and not make this rookie list.
Tight end Darnell Washington looks like he will be worthy of the pre-draft first-round hype he was receiving. For some odd reason, he fell to the third round, where Pittsburgh caught him with the 93rd overall selection.
Washington caught 28 passes for 454 yards and two touchdowns in his final year at Georgia. His lack of production in the passing game was not because he couldn't impact that area.
However, Washington is a menacing run blocker, capable of taking on defensive ends when the Steelers run the ball. He is also an incredible pass blocker if they decide to leave him on an island with an edge rusher.
Washington will have a consequential impact on the Pittsburgh offense when running and passing the ball. As one of the most historically athletic tight ends ever to enter the NFL draft, he will also present an incredible challenge to safeties and linebackers as a receiver.
The rookie tight end was identified as a perfect fit for the Bengals and what they need from the position. Seeing Washington play and thrive in Pittsburgh is a tough pill to swallow.