Phidarian Mathis - Commanders DT
The Washington Commanders invested a hefty amount of draft capital on their defensive front over recent years. Some paid off handsomely. Others failed to meet lofty expectations. Two were even traded to provide the new regime with more resources for their substantial upcoming rebuild.
To say it's been a frustrating start to Phidarian Mathis' professional career would be an understatement. The imposing interior force lasted a few snaps as a rookie before going to injured reserve. Another health complication last summer meant the former second-round pick was on the back foot immediately. He couldn't recover enough to make a lasting impact.
Mathis is entering Year 3 of his NFL journey and the Commanders have no clue what they have in the player. With a new coaching staff to impress, the Alabama product cannot afford to put a foot wrong.
Much like the situation with Percy Butler, there doesn't appear to be any immediate danger regarding Mathis' roster spot. But if Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr. don't like what they see, they won't hesitate to go in a different direction.
They weren't around when he was drafted. There is no previous connection. If Mathis doesn't get with the program or endures more bad luck on the injury front, don't be surprised if the Commanders explore alternatives behind the starting defensive tackle tandem of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne.