3 Commanders players that could surprise at training camp in 2023

- The promising RB

- The returning DL

- The explosive DB

Phidarian Mathis
Phidarian Mathis / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 3

Chris Rodriguez Jr. - Commanders RB

To say Chris Rodriguez Jr. got a crash course in what it takes to thrive at the next level would be an understatement. The sixth-round selection felt the wrath of Eric Bieniemy on more than one occasion throughout Washington Commanders' rookie minicamp thanks to poor execution, which was a rude awakening that represented a potential predicament unless immediate improvements didn't arrive.

Rodriguez is made of stern stuff. He dropped some weight and set about imposing himself among veteran players during OTAs and Washington's mandatory minicamp in a determined manner that did not go unnoticed.

The Commanders and Bieniemy, in particular, saw something in Rodriguez coming out of Kentucky. The play-caller had plenty of success with late-round draft picks that go on to thrive in prominent roles during his stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, but whether the sixth-rounder can elevate himself to take carries away from Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson remains to be seen.

Seizing the moment and grasping every rep that comes his way should be Rodriguez's objectives heading into camp. Focusing on what he can control rather than worrying about how others are performing is another smart way to approach matters.

Rodriguez has the athleticism and is evolving in terms of confidence as a pass-catcher under Bieniemy's guidance. There is a lot of work ahead, but he could emerge as one of Washington's camp surprises if everything goes well.