5 Washington Commanders players looking for redemption in 2024

These Commanders players have points to prove next season.
Jeremy Chinn
Jeremy Chinn / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Emmanuel Forbes Jr. - Commanders CB

Perhaps no Washington Commanders player has more to prove in 2024 than last year's first-round draft pick Emmanuel Forbes Jr. His rookie year was an unmitigated disaster, Though the cornerback began the season as a starter, he was eventually benched and only got back into a regular defensive rotation when injuries began knocking out other defensive backs.

Forbes was selected ahead of several high-profile corners in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the apple of Ron Rivera's eye from a long way out. There was steadfast belief in his ability to make a smooth transition.

The team seemed unconcerned about his slight frame. They saw a playmaker who could create turnovers. But it soon became apparent that his frame could not stand up to bigger NFL receivers, and that the ball-hawking ability he showed at Mississippi State never materialized.

If the Commanders were not in such dire need of cornerbacks, not only would his status as a starter be in question - Forbes would be in a battle to even make the roster. But the team needs him.

They have a collection of veteran corners, most of whom are journeymen. Joe Whitt Jr. has worked wonders with playmaking cornerbacks in the past and he will try out that magic with Forbes this season. He has also been taking some turns returning punts in camp this summer, although it’s hard to envision him doing that full-time.

Perhaps that is another avenue through which Forbes could make a mark. Perhaps he will follow in the footsteps of another Washington first-round draft pick who failed at first, only to find redemption as a kick returner. That’s what happened to Desmond Howard in the 1990s.

The Commanders need Forbes to show some signs of life as a defender. At this point, they are just hoping he can make a positive contribution in some form.