4 Commanders role players entering career-defining seasons in 2024

Chris Rodriguez Jr.
Chris Rodriguez Jr. / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Chris Rodriguez Jr. - Commanders RB

Chris Rodriguez Jr. was a sixth-round development project drafted thanks to a glowing recommendation from Eric Bieniemy during last year's assessment stage. The Washington Commanders took their time with the running back over his early transition, but he caught the eye when called upon to leave plenty of optimism regarding his future aspirations.

Rodriguez looked assured when carries came his way. He's not the quickest by any stretch, but his on-field vision and physical running style went over well. Gaining 4.8 yards per carry from limited involvement was a big positive within an offensive scheme completely devoid of balance.

There are two prominent figures in front of Rodriguez on the depth chart once again in 2024. The Commanders pulled off a coup with the signing of Austin Ekeler to replace Antonio Gibson following his departure to the New England Patriots in free agency. Brian Robinson Jr. looks like a potential breakout candidate after going over 1,000 all-purpose yards last season. Rodriguez will be on the fringes unless there's a dramatic surge forward.

That's a blow to Rodriguez's chances of increased involvement. However, offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury plans to implement the rushing attack heavily to take the heat off rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels. If this becomes a committee approach or one of the aforementioned duo goes down with injury, the Kentucky product will be next in line.

Complacency cannot become an issue for Rodriguez. He knows the hard work is just getting started despite being one of the few offensive players in Washington to emerge from the 2023 season with credit. If he impresses once again as a runner and pass-blocker out of the backfield, it'll do his long-term hopes the world of good.

Rodriguez looks like a player who could shoulder more of a burden. He's not to the standard of Robinson or Ekeler just yet, but there's nothing to suggest he can't become a key asset with a little extra polish.