Washington Commanders NFL Draft Grades 2023: Commanders Bolster Defense With Emmanuel Forbes

    What are the Washington Commanders' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

    The Washington CommandersNFL Draft grades are a direct reflection of Martin Mayhew’s ability to block out the external noise surrounding the franchise and simply focus on improving the roster around an unknown — or untested — QB situation.

    Washington Commanders Grades for the 2023 NFL Draft

    Round 1, Pick 16: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

    Emmanuel Forbes is a fantastic football player. He’s an incredibly smooth and explosive athlete. Additionally, it’s nice to see the NFL take shots on talented players even if they don’t fit traditional size requirements.

    MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    But Forbes’ 166-pound frame isn’t only an issue on paper. Although he isn’t afraid to push a pile or drop his shoulder to make a tackle, he’s simply not powerful enough often enough. He will struggle at times against more physical pass catchers, and he will also struggle as a tackler in the run game.

    But what makes this pick even more peculiar is seeing Christian Gonzalez, Joey Porter Jr., and Deonte Banks all still on the board.

    Grade: D

    Round 2, Pick 47: Jartavius Martin, CB, Illinois

    Jartavius “Quan” Martin played in the slot for Illinois, and while he was projected to safety at the next level, he may remain as a slot defender for Washington. Martin is a fantastic athlete with outrageous explosiveness. His reactionary athleticism will play well in a division that has to deal with a lot of talent playing in the slot on offense.

    But with the league moving toward more three safety personnel groupings, there’s a chance that the Commanders swing him to the back end alongside Kamren Curl and Darrick Forrest. But the team likely wants a bit more quickness in the slot than what Benjamin St-Juste can provide them.

    Grade: B

    Round 3, Pick 97: Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas

    This pick makes a ton of sense. The value might not be outstanding in the third round, but there have already been three centers off the board, and the Commanders could desperately use a starter there.

    Ricky Stromberg has adequate length for the position and more than enough athleticism to start at the NFL level. He’s a better downhill run blocker than he is a pass protector. Stromberg could struggle early on as a pass protector because of his inconsistent anchor, but centers are more infrequently left on an island in pass protection anyways.

    Grade: B-

    Round 4, Pick 118: Braeden Daniels, OT, Utah

    The Commanders continue their pursuit of improving their offensive line. Braeden Daniels will need time to develop at the NFL level, but the athletic potential is there.

    Grade: B

    Round 5, Pick 137: K.J. Henry, EDGE, Clemson

    K.J. Henry may seem like a bit of a departure from the Commanders’ usual EDGE prospects.

    MORE: Overall Team Grades for the 2023 NFL Draft

    But he has every-down impact and should provide some solid depth in a limited role.

    Grade: B

    Round 6, Pick 193: Chris Rodriguez Jr., RB, Kentucky

    Chis Rodriguez Jr. is a bit of a bruising plodder, but as a rotational piece that can take some snaps later in games, he would be a physical presence on a team that doesn’t necessarily field that sort of RB currently.

    Grade: B-

    Round 7, Pick 233: Andre Jones, EDGE, Louisiana

    Andre Jones, like so many 2023 NFL Draft prospects, is on the older side. However, the edge rusher from Louisiana has a ridiculous wingspan and massive hands that he inconsistently uses to displace blockers. The Commanders needed edge depth, and throwing a dart at a traitsy player in Round 7 is never a bad move.

    Grade: B-

    What Were the Commanders’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

    • CB, EDGE, QB, DT

    Washington possesses some potential at cornerback, but they need to add a stud to the back end for sustained success. Kendall Fuller is coming off a major injury, and Benjamin St-Juste isn’t someone Washington will build an entire secondary around. The Commanders should also look to add legitimate potential to the EDGE group because there’s little depth behind Montez Sweat and Chase Young.

    Washington will likely roll with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett this season, but that doesn’t mean they have the position solved for the long haul.

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