4 Commanders players who cannot afford to regress in 2023

Curtis Samuel
Curtis Samuel / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
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Jamin Davis - Commanders LB

Much like the situation at kicker, it's been a surprising approach to the linebacking corps this offseason. Cody Barton was the only notable signing by the Washington Commanders in free agency, which offset Cole Holcomb's departure but did nothing to improve the depth and overall strength at the defensive second level.

While this might be inconsequential if defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio increases his deployment of two-linebacker sets within his scheme, it raises the stakes considerably for Jamin Davis. The former first-round selection must become a true three-down force in 2023, which could have implications for Washington's upcoming decision regarding his fifth-year option.

Considering the Commanders haven't picked up the options of Daron Payne and Chase Young over the last two seasons, Davis has his work cut out. The one-time Kentucky star went over 100 tackles for the first time last season, but there are clear deficiencies in coverage, and rushing the passer is another area that needs work in the coming months.

Davis has some outstanding qualities. His gap discipline against the run should be commended and the angles he's taking to the contact point came on significantly last time around, but more is undoubtedly needed heading into Year 3 of his professional career.

This is the time when we get a broader perspective on what players - especially on defense - will be able to produce long-term. In Davis' case, the jury is still out.