Commanders deep dive: Is 2023 the worst draft class in franchise history?

It looks like another mixed bag on the draft front from the 2023 class...

Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders suspect early-round calls

In the early rounds, the Washington Commanders have been smoked.

It begins at the top where they opted for Emmanuel Forbes while virtually every analyst I know had Christian Gonzalez rated higher. The Oregon product got hurt a month into the season. Before that, he may have been the best rookie in the league.

He won the Defensive Rookie of the Month in September. The New England Patriots snapped him up right after the Commanders passed. Forbes, as you know, has struggled mightily and has been in and out of the lineup.

Quan Martin was a surprise pick in the second round. He was drafted as a safety but has played cornerback for Washington. The cornerback drafted after him - Cam Smith - has a significantly higher Pro Football Focus rating. Though to be fair, he has had trouble finding playing time behind a deep group of veterans on the Miami Dolphins.

Ricky Stromberg was drafted as a center, but as has become de rigueur here in Washington, was shifted to guard. He played a little bit as a backup before getting hurt and had a poor 44.5 grade. The next guard selected, Seattle’s Anthony Bradford, held up very well against Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne in the Seahawks' victory over the Commanders earlier this year. His PFF rating is 59.2.

Braeden Daniels, a college tackle who also shifted to guard, hasn’t played this season. He was put on injured/reserve after an unimpressive training camp. That is the same fate of Jon Gaines, the first guard taken after him.

The next guard who has played some this season, Antonio Mafi of the Patriots, has one of the lowest PFF ratings I’ve ever seen. But he has played over 300 snaps. Daniels has played zero. I’m not sure what to do with that.

What I am sure of is that had the Commanders simply taken the next player at the position they drafted, they would be no worse off. They would probably be better just based on Gonzalez and Bradford.