Emmanuel Forbes - Commanders CB
When the Washington Commanders selected Emmanuel Forbes at No. 16 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, those in power expected an immediate return on their investment. The cornerback was lauded as the potential shutdown presence this defense has craved for years, which was perhaps unfair on someone with no legitimate NFL experience.
These expectations were delusional. Not every rookie is Sauce Gardner or Patrick Surtain II. This proved to be the case with Forbes during a rookie campaign more akin to a baptism of fire than anything else.
The former Mississippi State ball-hawk got plenty of big-time responsibilities from the Commanders coaching staff right out of the gate. Sadly for the team and Forbes, he couldn't cope effectively with some of the league's premier wide receivers such as A.J. Brown and D.J. Moore.
This is an indictment on coaching more than Forbes' inability to hit the ground running. Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio should have recognized the need to take him out of the firing line sooner - yet more grave judgment from one coach no longer around and another who'll soon be seeking alternative employment.
Much like the situation regarding Jahan Dotson, it's way too early to be judging Forbes or writing him off. But a big offseason awaits the player with a different coaching staff who weren't around when the Commanders identified him as their top priority last spring.