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Washington Commanders 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight

Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (13) returns an interception for a touchdown against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers during the second quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books. After a flurry of selections from Thursday to Saturday, 259 players were selected to join the NFL.

With that, we give you our full recap of the Washington Commanders draft, with analysis on every selection the team made during the weekend and an in-depth look at their top pick.

For more information on the players your favorite team drafted, it’s not too late to get the 2023 NFL Draft Guide, which includes expanded scouting reports, draft grades, offseason reports, unique advanced data, PFF grades and much more.

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2023 NFL Draft Picks

R1 (16): CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
R2 (47): CB Jartavius Martin, Illinois
R3 (97): C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
R4 (118): T Braeden Daniels, Utah
R5 (137): EDGE K.J. Henry, Clemson
R6 (193): RB Chris Rodriguez Jr., Kentucky
R7 (233): LB Andre Jones, Louisiana

Day 1: The 26th-ranked player on PFF’s big board, Forbes was elite when it came to playing the ball in college. He produced an 87.2 PFF grade in 2022 and finished his three-year career at Mississippi State with 14 interceptions and 17 pass breakups.

Day 2: Martin comes off the board 47th overall to Washington after slotting in at 94th on the PFF big board. He can fill a versatile role in the secondary for the Commanders, who clearly placed an emphasis on improving that group in this draft. He’s played everywhere from outside corner to slot corner to safety in his five-year career at Illinois.

Stromberg could wind up as a starter anywhere on the interior in the NFL, but this is one of the biggest reaches of the day. He ranks 228th on the PFF big board. He did grade well in college, though, producing an 83.4 PFF run-blocking grade and a 77.1 PFF pass-blocking grade.

Day 3: Daniels started at left guard in 2019, right tackle in 2021 and left tackle in 2022. He’ll likely fit in best on the interior in the NFL, but he offers athleticism and versatile depth for a Washington offensive line that finished last season as the 24th-ranked unit in PFF pass-blocking grade.

After news came out right before the draft that the Commanders are not planning on exercising the fifth-year option for 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, they trade up to add K.J Henry off the edge. This doesn’t necessarily mean a move is imminent — we’re now in the fifth round, after all — but is notable nonetheless. Henry earned an 84.0 pass-rush grade with a 15.9% pass-rush win rate in 2022 but is a bit older and didn’t test very well.

The Commanders add another bigger, power back to their backfield who can contribute as an early down grinder in the run game. Rodriguez took a step back from a production standpoint in 2022 behind a worse offensive line, but he still earned an elite 90.7 PFF rushing grade behind 3.8 yards after contact per run and 64 missed tackles forced.

Jones is a long edge rusher (6-foot-5 with 34-inch arms) who has delivered 70.0-plus PFF pass-rush grades and at least 30 pressures in each of the past two seasons at Louisiana. He’s experienced with nearly 2,500 defensive snaps across six college seasons.

DRAFT GRADE: B

Prospect Spotlight: CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State

Forbes started ever since his freshman year in 2020 for the Bulldogs, improving every single year. He's still on the skinny side for the position, but he doesn't play like it. His ball production is tremendous, with 14 picks and 17 pass-breakups in his career.

Strengths, weaknesses and NFL role

Where he wins: Ball Skills

Forbes is going to find the football, and he's not going to be content to just bat it down. If you're a DC who preaches turnovers, Forbes is your man.

What's his role? Versatile CB

Forbes was stuck playing a ton of off-zone coverage in Mississippi State's scheme, but he excelled in press-man when given the opportunity. His willingness to play the run could also play on the inside, although he'll need to improve his play strength to do so.

What he can improve: Muscle mass

Forbes needs just 10 or so more pounds to play his style of football at the NFL level. Receivers and running backs had too easy a time running through him in college.

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