After every draft, especially the first round, NFL coaches claim they got the players their teams wanted.
And in many cases it is true.
So it was no surprise when Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said just that late Thursday night, expressing his excitement for new Washington cornerback Emmanuel Forbes. used the 16th pick in the NFL Draft to take the speedster out of Mississippi, a coach credited with being an elite playmaker.
“Looking at what we’ve talked about improving and improving, one of the things that wasn’t as good as it needed to be as a defense was the bottom line,” Rivera said. and has done it at a very high level.”
Forbes produced turnovers at an unusual rate, scoring 14 interceptions in three college seasons, breaking the NCAA record for interceptions returned for a touchdown.
The speed is also insane. Forbes recorded his 4.35 seconds for his dash for 40 yards at the NFL Combine.
There’s a lot to like about Washington winning Forbes at age 16. Once the young man starts speaking, it’s easy to see how he impressed Rivera and the Commander’s cadre.
“I’m going to bring in players who have a great attitude and just come and work every day and help my team win games. ,” Forbes said after his selection.
Rivera clearly wants the same.
The Commanders threw only nine interceptions last year, ranking in the bottom five in the NFL. The lack of turnovers hit the defense, and although they performed well as a group, they were not good at explosive plays.
Forbes may help change that. He certainly produced some big plays in college, but there are also fair questions about his selection.
First, Forbes is light on NFL players. He was 6ft 1 tall at the combine, but he weighed only 166lbs. This makes him one of the leanest first-rounders to date.
Forbes has heard questions about his slight physique and says it doesn’t stress him out.
“They didn’t really care about my weight because I can play ball. That’s all and it never really affected my game was.”
The endurance in super tough SEC is noteworthy. He never misses a match and doesn’t seem to deal with the soft tissue injuries that sometimes plague Berner.
“When you look at his tapes, you can’t see him being that light. He doesn’t look like that on the tapes. He doesn’t play like that. He’s endurance. He’s injured. I haven’t missed a game in three years,” Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew said of Forbes. “I mean, he’s been durable in the SEC and he’s played a lot of football, so that’s not something we really care about.”
Good for the commander to decide whether to deal with the problem or not. And the tape supports the theory that weight doesn’t matter to Forbes.
There is another question that the Commander cannot answer, or at least cannot answer.
In the final two drafts, Washington clearly identified its top picks in the first round and eschewed what could be considered more popular choices.
Two years ago it came with the pick of Jamin Davis, a solid linebacker prospect from Kentucky who was drafted ahead of Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Colamore. In the season, Davis has developed into a solid player after a tough rookie year, and Owusu Coramore looks like a more impactful player, although he has dealt with a number of injuries.
The jury hasn’t made a decision, but it has set a pattern.
Last season, Washington chose to trade out receivers Chris Olave and Jameson Williams from the 11th pick when they were available. and earned an extra pick in the process, later ending up running Bryan Robinson and quarterback Sam Howell.
It’s too early to say exactly what the deal will be. Olave looks like a future star after a rookie year in which he racked up over 1,000 receiving yards despite just his nine starts. Dotson also had a very promising rookie season, scoring seven touchdowns, but missed five games with a hamstring injury.
Robinson certainly looks like a solid back, and if Howell lives up to his potential, the trade could be an absolute home run.
Dotson’s decision, which followed Davis’ decision, proved that Washington would follow the draft board no matter what played out elsewhere in the draft.
Thursday night, it was again shown that Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez was surprisingly available when the Commanders picked on the 16th.
Washington stuck to the board to get Forbes, with New England getting Gonzalez in the next pick. A pair of rookie corners will be compared, fair or not, for at least the next few seasons.
Guts are important in soccer. And Ron Rivera showed guts with a first-round draft pick.
Under his leadership, the Washington organization has now proven in three drafts that conventional wisdom does not dictate their choices. And that belief could pay off handsomely, perhaps soon this fall.
It may not be.
A good draft can help your organization win. A good draft builds a championship team. Bad drafts get people fired.
Sooner or later the answers to the big decisions in Washington will come.