Mel Kiper’s Commanders mock draft pick lauded as future All-Pro

(Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports) Mel Kiper Jr.
(Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports) Mel Kiper Jr. /

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper’s recent mock draft pick for the Washington Commanders was lauded as a future All-Pro selection. 

Excitement is building ahead of the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. While all the primary national focus centers on the top-four quarterbacks, the Washington Commanders are further down the pecking order with a few needs to fill in pursuit of a playoff return.

There should be some exciting prospects available for the Commanders at No. 16 overall. Finding a premier left tackle is a huge goal, one suspects, but adding a potential shutdown cornerback with their first-round selection cannot be dismissed in the slightest.

One would think Kendall Fuller, Benjamin St-Juste, and the recently acquired Cameron Dantzler Sr. form the starting unit currently. While this trio could be productive with a smooth offseason, this is an exceptional group of college prospects at the top end and something Washington would be wise to consider heavily.

Commanders select Emmanuel Forbes in Mel Kiper’s mock draft

This was a topic recently highlighted by Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, who projected Emmanuel Forbes to the Commanders in his latest mock draft. The analyst highlgihted the player’s weight concerns, but declared Washington would be getting a potential All-Pro if everything clicks into place right away.

"“I’m a huge fan of (Emmanuel) Forbes, who is rail thin but really fast. He ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the combine but weighed in at 166 pounds, making him the lightest prospect at the position. Forbes is a ball hawk who picked off 14 passes over the past three seasons — one of those was a pick-six off Will Levis — and could be an All-Pro player. He has gone up against some of college football’s best wideouts and consistently held his own.”"

Forbes is an exceptional coverage cornerback. He has the length and athleticism to make a significant difference while also boasting the top end speed to go downfield with almost any wide receiver at the next level.

Obviously, Forbes needs to bulk up slighty. But the former Mississippi State standout has proven ballhawk credentials and reacts extremely well to receivers getting out of their cuts for good measure.

If there were knocks on Forbes, it’s from a tackling standpoint. He isn’t the most physical when it comes to wrapping up players, which will only get harder against NFL-caliber oppoition who’ll punish every mistake.

Becoming more of a factor against the run is something else Forbes needs to focus on. However, anyone drafting the defensive back will be doing so to maximize his outstanding lockdown potential, which he proved time and time again throughout a glittering college career.

Whether he could reach the All-Pro level Kiper predicted is anyone’s guess. But the Commanders represent a tremendous environment for any young cornerback to thrive under Jack Del Rio and behind a highly productive defensive front.

Others such as Christian Gonzalez, Joey Porter Jr., Kelee Ringo, Deonte Banks, and Devon Withersppin should be on the shortlist. The Commanders will also be watching development behind the top tackle trio of Peter Skoronski, Broderick Jones, and Paris Johnson Jr. as the draft develops in front of them.

Forbes is talented with high upside, there’s no denying that. Whether he’s worthy of becoming a mid-round draft pick is the big conundrum Washington must figure out for themselves.

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