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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K.J. Henry - Commanders DE

If you look at the Washington Commanders' current depth chart, you’ll notice that the defensive end room is less than ideal. Dorance Armstrong Jr. is a rock-solid pass rusher, but having him as your top option should never be a good thing.

Clelin Ferrell and Dante Fowler Jr. are the two next-best pass rushers on the roster. There is a possibility that Jamin Davis could see more playing time at defensive end in the Micah Parsons role within Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr.'s defense.

This could lead to an expanded role for second-year defensive end K.J. Henry. The former fifth-round selection didn’t see much playing time early in his rookie season. But as the campaign went on, he began to be a part of the pass-rush rotation after the Commanders traded Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline.

Henry tallied 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks from 41 percent of Washington's defensive snaps. One thing that stood out when watching the former Clemson star was his ability to generate pressure. He got after the quarterback and seemed to always find ways to fluster those under center. That will go down well with Whitt and Quinn.

A former five-star high school recruit, Henry has talent. Whitt could even put him at three-technique in Quinn’s famous NASCAR package. This puts four-down edge rushers on the line of scrimmage and no interior defensive linemen.

This will allow Henry to work against opposing guards and be effective with pressure rates. Especially when the Commanders use simulated pressures under the new regime.

Henry’s production should increase in 2024 if he earns playing time. Washington’s defense is likely to improve and create different ways of creating pressure. That should benefit the ex-Tiger and Ohio native.

Under a disciplined creative defensive-minded head coach, Henry could see a jump in production and play this season.