Re-grading the Commanders 2023 NFL Draft class after one season

Ron Rivera's no longer head coach of the Washington Commanders for a variety of reasons, but the poor returns from the team's 2023 NFL Draft class are one of the biggest.

Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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K.J. Henry - Commanders DE

  • Defensive End | Clemson Tigers
  • No. 137 overall

Finding value from late-round defensive linemen was one of the few things Ron Rivera got right during his Washington Commanders tenure. K.J. Henry's name belongs alongside 2020 seventh-rounder James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill.

Henry couldn't match Toohill's five sacks, but last year's fifth-round pick did log 1.5 quarterback takedowns. He also batted down a pair of passes, secured four tackles for loss and two more quarterback hits. Not bad for someone who was seen as a development project coming out of Clemson.

Those aren't eye-popping statistics, but they are evidence of Henry's ability to make splash plays behind the line of scrimmage at the pro level. The former Tiger should have a future as a rotational pass-rusher along a defensive front that still needs a major retool after Chase Young and Montez Sweat were traded.

Whether Henry can develop into a productive starter is anyone's guess. Much will depend on how he progresses during the offseason and how the new Commanders regime perceive his potential.

Draft Grade: B