Analyst highlights high-stakes situation for Commanders CB Emmanuel Forbes

The pressure is on.
Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There aren't many within the Washington Commanders under more pressure than Emmanuel Forbes in 2024. The No. 16 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft went through significant turmoil over his rookie campaign. A huge effort is needed to bounce back and prove why he was such a highly-touted prospect last spring.

Forbes was seen as a ballhawk cornerback the Commanders desperately needed. Ron Rivera became almost infatuated with the player during what turned out to be his final pre-draft assessment at the helm. There was genuine belief in his potential capabilities at the next level. The jury is well and truly out on that after just one season.

The defensive back's athleticism isn't in question. Forbes has that in abundance, but his lack of bulk enabled opposing wide receivers to bully him frequently throughout a season to forget.

This came with inevitable criticism and questions about whether the Commanders made the right call in drafting Forbes over someone like Christian Gonzalez. The former Mississippi State star seems eager to prove people wrong. There's also a belief within the organization he can thrive under the improved guidance of Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr. - two renowned developers of defensive backs.

Commanders need more from Emmanuel Forbes in 2024

It's a high-stakes situation for Forbes, especially considering those who thought so much of him previously are no longer around. Sam Monson from Pro Football Focus highlighted this predicament after inevitably listing the defensive back among his second-year players under the most pressure in 2024.

"The NFL has been far more ready in recent years to push the boundaries of size thresholds, and so it was last year when the Washington Commanders drafted Emmanuel Forbes at No. 16 overall despite his weighing just 166 pounds at the NFL Combine. He did improve from a lower position on the cornerback depth chart, but his rookie season overall was a struggle. Washington still has an acute need at cornerback, and Forbes is unlikely to pack on 40 pounds of bulk any time soon. So, he enters his sophomore season in need of rapid development in his ability to succeed at this level as an undersized player, particularly in a division with some big and very good receivers."

Sam Monson, Pro Football Focus

Forbes has reportedly put on some extra muscle mass in pursuit of brighter fortunes next time around. That's a positive given how Quinn likes his cornerbacks to be physical at the line of scrimmage within his expansive scheme. Opportunity also knocks for the player looking at the outside coverage options available currently.

There's plenty of motivation attached to Forbes heading into Year 2 of his professional career. Winning the confidence of Quinn and his staff is the primary objective during Washington's upcoming training camp. If he does enough to earn prominent reps, the Grenada High School star can expect a barrage of targets in his direction from opposing offenses who'll want to test him heavily.

How Forbes copes with this will go a long way to determining his long-term future in the nation's capital. All hope is not lost just yet, but the margin for error is slimmer than ever following his lackluster rookie efforts.

If Forbes cannot improve with Quinn and Whitt leading the charge, the Commanders have a monumental draft bust on their hands. Hopefully, it won't come to that and the corner can excel moving forward.