4 Commanders players primed for a breakout season in 2024

Could these Commanders players take the league by storm in 2024?
Quan Martin
Quan Martin / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Quan Martin - Commanders DB

Despite the Washington Commanders failing to meet expectations defensively last season, there were a few shining lights of positivity. They were hard to find, but the emergence of Quan Martin was undoubtedly one of them.

Martin was a strange selection in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Commanders had taken a cornerback in the first round when Emmanuel Forbes came on board at No. 16 overall. Picking a second-straight defensive back when there was a glaring need along the offensive line was widely criticized at the time.

This had nothing to do with Martin's promise coming out of Illinois. The concerns centered on Ron Rivera's lack of urgency to improve the protection in front of quarterback Sam Howell - something that played a leading role in the player becoming the league's most-sacked signal-caller during the campaign.

Martin was introduced into the rotation gradually. He started five games, playing 33 percent of defensive snaps and 52% on special teams. There were times of struggle, but his production was largely encouraging.

This could be something Dan Quinn builds upon next season and beyond. He has the physical tools needed to be a versatile weapon in the secondary. The new head coach and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. have a prolific reputation when it comes to developing defensive backs, so hopes are high that Martin and Forbes can benefit greatly.

Just where Martin will be deployed is a hot topic of discussion among the fanbase. Rivera used him as a slot cornerback more often than not during his rookie campaign. However, the Commanders took Mike Sainristil at No. 50 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, so switching him to the backend is a definite possibility after Washington opted to let Kamren Curl walk in free agency.

Regardless of where Martin lines up, his athleticism and aggressive approach are sure to be utilized heavily by Quinn and Whitt as part of their defensive scheme. If he takes on improved coaching this summer, a breakout season won't be too far behind.