Commanders defense: Breaking down past seasons to project the future in 2023

Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera
Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders defensive outlook in 2023

This summer, the Washington Commanders addressed a major weakness by adding two ball-hawking defensive backs to the secondary with their first two selections of the 2023 NFL Draft. An obvious attempt to further bolster an otherwise stout defense that has simply not been up to par in recent years at forcing turnovers. 

The Commanders also brought in linebacker Cody Barton to replace Cole Holcomb, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency after struggling with injuries throughout 2022.

Third-year-pro Jamin Davis took the next step in his development and led the Commanders in total tackles last season. The former first-round pick showed flashes of dominant form while starting 15 games at outside linebacker.

Defensive end Chase Young is expected back to full health after missing much of the last two seasons recovering from his 2021 knee complication. The former No. 2 pick combines with fellow edge-rusher Montez Sweat and the dominant defensive tackle duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne to form potentially the most fearsome front four in football. 

Safeties Kamren Curl and Darrick Forrest are rapidly becoming two of the best in the league at their positions, while veteran Kendall Fuller provides a stabilizing presence in the cornerback room. 

If rookie defenders Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin can immediately contribute in the takeaway department, along with Washington getting some much overdue luck on the health front - the Commanders could again shape up as one of the NFL’s top defenses in 2023.