Commanders secondary set up to surprise
The Washington Commanders return an abundance of starting experience in the defensive secondary in 2023. This begins with cornerback Kendall Fuller, who enters his eighth NFL season.
Fuller was solid but nothing special as a starter in Washington last season. He struggled at the outset of the slate but seemed to settle in as the schedule progressed.
Behind Fuller, the Commanders boast one of the best young safety duos in the league, with Kamren Curl and Darrick Forrest continuing their rapid rise to superstardom as former late-round selections.
Holdovers Benjamin St-Juste and Percy Butler have repeatedly turned heads throughout the early part of training camp, as both young players fight to earn bigger roles with Washington in 2023.
Washington taking defensive backs with consecutive picks to begin this year's NFL Draft showed the Commanders' obvious intent to upgrade their overall coverage talent in the secondary. This came with a clear focus on creating more turnovers.
First-round pick Emmanuel Forbes looks every bit the ball-hawk that made him an All-SEC selection at Mississippi State. The confident rookie is constantly showcasing his ability as a potential shut-down corner for the Commanders so far.
Second-rounder Quan Martin has also flashed in his opening opportunities, consistently finding himself around the football while lining up at a plethora of positions in Jack Del Rio's defense.
With the additions of Forbes and Martin, the Commanders should be vastly improved in the secondary this season, raising the ceiling of this already elite defensive unit. The coverage group playing up to its potential will be pivotal in determining whether Washington can make a playoff push in a packed NFC East division loaded with Pro Bowl pass catchers.