3 second-year Commanders players who could break out in 2024

The Commanders need more from these second-year players.
Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Emmanuel Forbes - Commanders CB

There might be a day when Washington Commanders fans will grow even more bitter about Martin Mayhew and Ron Rivera passing on promising cornerback Christian Gonzalez, who went one spot later to the New England Patriots at No. 17 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Even so, it’s better to focus on the now and what Emmanuel Forbes needs to improve heading into the upcoming campaign. 

There’s no sugarcoating his rookie season. Forbes did not perform well in 2023, eventually being benched due to his inconsistency and overall struggles. However, there is plenty of light at the end of the tunnel for the defensive back to turn into a formidable player under new head coach Dan Quinn.

His usage was one of the biggest issues with the former Mississippi State standout. It’s fair to say this season that the Commanders will have a more man-coverage-focused defense. This would benefit Forbes greatly if he could develop problem areas throughout the summer.

It’s easy to forget that Forbes was a ball-hawk during his three seasons in college football. He had the most interceptions returned for touchdowns in a career with six. He racked up six takeaways during his final year on his way to being a consensus All-American selection.

On film, Forbes played at the hip pocket and was quite sticky in his man coverage assignments against opposing wide receivers. Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr. need to get the player back to this level despite things not going according to plan in Year 1 of his professional career.

Size will always be an issue for Forbes. He is like DeVonta Smith in the sense that he may never be a bulkier player, and that’s okay.

What Forbes needs to focus on is growing as a press-man corner and being more consistent in his technique. He may not start right away. But if he is utilized correctly, the Commanders could reap the benefits.