Washington Redskins Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Jartavius ‘Quan’ Martin, S/CB, Illinois – Round 2
Washington entered the offseason needing a lot of help at cornerback, and improving the pass coverage was the top priority. The organization was able to come away with two superb defensive backs from the 2022 college football season with Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin. At Illinois, Martin was a dynamic nickel corner, safety, and he was constantly around the ball.

The 5-foot-11, 194-pound Martin has the ability to line up and cover slot receivers. Martin’s quickness, flexibility, and fluid athleticism allow him to line up at the line of scrimmage or pick them up in off-man coverage. Martin will be a real asset to Washington’s defense when going against dangerous slot receivers. In nickel, he is a capable cover corner to run the route and prevent separation. He shows good instincts to play the ball and is very active in the middle of the field.

Martin also is a skilled strong safety. He has the mentality of an aggressive strong safety who comes downhill and dishes out hard hits in the box or flat. With impressive speed, Martin closes ground in a hurry to cut down ball-carriers or wide receiver screens. In zone coverage, Martin shows he is fast by covering a ton of ground and being very fluid in space.

Martin was a good run defender in college, as his tackle totals suggest. He brings down his target well and does a nice job of weaving through blockers. Martin is smart about how he tackles, taking the legs out from underneath backs. However, Martin is a little light, so he could have some issues with power backs. While is tough and aggressive, Martin’s build could lead to injuries as a pro.

For the NFL, Martin looks like a starting nickel corner who could play safety in the base defense. Teams are in nickel at least 70 percent of their snaps, and sometimes they play nickel the entire game. Martin will give the Washington defense good flexibility with the ability to play safety and slot corner.

It would not be surprising if Martin ends up becoming the starting nickel as soon as his rookie season. Martin only has to beat out Danny Johnson to win the nickel corner spot. Before long, Martin should be a solid starter for Washington who helps the team at nickel corner and safety.

2022: Phidarian Mathis, DT
2021: Sam Cosmi, OT
2020: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR
2019: Dwayne Haskins, QB
2018: Da’Ron Payne, DT
2017: Ryan Anderson, LB
2016: Josh Doctson, WR
2015: Preston Smith, DE
2014: Trent Murphy, DE
2013: Phillip Thomas, S

Most Likely To Bust

Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas – Round 3
Washington did some revamping of its offensive line in free agency and continued to build up its front by picking Stromberg in the third round. Stromberg was a solid player for Arkansas, but he has some limitations for the pros. The 6-foot-3, 306-pounder lacks some length and size for the NFL. He also looks like a center-only player and is not a candidate to be cross-trained at guard. Of the early-round picks from Washington, Stromberg looks like the least likely to pan out at the NFL level.

2022: Brian Robinson, RB
2021: Benjamin St-Juste, CB
2020: Antonio Gibson, RB
2019: Wes Martin, G
2018: Troy Apke, S
2017: Monte Nicholson, S
2016: Su’a Cravens, S
2015: Matt Jones, RB
2014: Spencer Long, G
2013: Chris Thompson, RB

Potential Boom Pick

Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State – Round 1
If Forbes were a little heavier, he would have been a potential top-10 pick, but at 180 pounds, his thin frame worried some evaluators. Still, Forbes was a dynamic playmaker and ballhawks in college. While Forbes is not a thick muscular player, he was a good and willing tackler who showed no fear to get physical. Forbes looks like the kind of player who can overcome that issue to be a very good pro.

For the NFL, Forbes is a dangerous playmaker and is a threat to make a game-changing play anytime a quarterback throws his direction. Forbes shows superb instincts with rare and phenomenal ball skills. He has soft hands and routinely makes circus catches. It feels like Forbes has magnets in his hands. When Forbes makes a catch, his speed takes over, and he is a serious threat to score on any reception. Forbes was a pick-six phenom at Mississippi State and showed excellent return skills.

One of the things that makes Forbes so dangerous and effective is his speed. He is extremely fast to break on the ball, and his speed gives him good recoverability to close gaps as well. With an easy glide, Forbes flies around the field and shows a serious burst out of a break. As a pro, Forbes could be an asset to defend speed receivers with his ability to cover them over the top and stay with them out of breaks.

Washington head coach Ron Rivera and executive Marty Hurney drafted a similar player in Carolina with Donte Jackson. Jackson turned into a good pro, and they knew how to work with his size, elite speed and ball skills. Forbes could be an even better version of Jackson because Forbes is more disciplined. It would not surprise me if Forbes was a boom pick for the Commanders.

2022: Jahan Dotson, WR
2021: Jamin Davis, LB
2020: Chase Young, DE
2019: Montez Sweat, DE
2018: Derrius Guice, RB
2017: Jonathan Allen, DT
2016: Kendall Fuller, CB
2015: Brandon Scherff, G
2014: Morgan Moses, OT
2013: David Amerson, CB

Future Depth Player

Chris Rodriguez Jr., RB, Kentucky – Round 6
The Commanders have some veteran running backs, but Rodriguez was a superb value in the sixth round. He had the talent to be a second-day pick and easily could have gone many rounds higher.

As a runner, Rodriguez (6-0, 217) is a load. He is a true power back who runs over defenders and constantly runs through tackles. With his power, strength and physicality, Rodriguez was excellent in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He will consistently break tackles, and he does a fantastic job of keeping his legs churning after contact. Rodriguez is a decisive runner who charges downfield and is not one to dance in the backfield. He displays zero hesitation to stick his nose into a scrum and will power through the defense to generate positive yardage. His power allows him to finish runs well and consistently drag tacklers behind him.

Rodriguez shows a real burst to hit the hole and acceleration to get downfield. He has good contact balance and patience that allows him to flow to the line before darting downfield. Rodriguez will power through arm tackles, and his legs don’t go dead on contact. With his burst and strength to run through contact, Rodriguez is a dangerous threat to break runs into the second level.

Antonio Gibson may not be signed to an extension, and Rodriguez could become the No. 2 back behind Brian Robinson. While Rodriguez may not have the elite receiving ability or game-breaking speed for the NFL, he could be a Jamaal Williams-type No. 2 back for Washington. Rodriguez was a superb pick and value in the sixth round.

2022: Sam Howell, QB
2021: Dyami Brown, WR
2020: Saahdig Charles, OT
2019: Terry McLaurin, WR
2018: Tim Settle, DT
2017: Jeremy Sprinkle, TE
2016: Nate Sudfeld, QB
2015: Martrell Spaight, LB
2014: Lache Seastrunk, RB
2013: Brandon Jenkins, OLB

Walt’s 2023 NFL Draft Grades:

16. Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State – B Grade
Credit Charlie Campbell for reporting that the Redskins loved Emmanuel Forbes, who fits Ron Rivera’s defense so well as a ball-hawking cornerback. I wondered if the Redskins would draft a falling prospect like Christian Gonzalez or Nolan Smith, but they stuck with their guy, which is fine. Forbes is going to fill a huge need at cornerback, which has been a big problem area for many years in Washington.

47. Quan Martin, S/CB, Illinois – B+ Grade
I had Quan Martin going one pick earlier, but he makes a lot of sense for the Redskins, who are finally resolving their major secondary issues. Martin can play both safety and cornerback, but with Emmanuel Forbes in the fold, putting Martin at safety is a logical fit.

97. Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas – D Grade
Here’s another reach. We’ve reached the compensatory section of the third round, so making reach picks like this isn’t Millen-worthy, but the Redskins could have drafted so many better players than Ricky Stromberg. The Arkansas product had a solid 2022 campaign, but he’s not an exciting prospect.

118. Braeden Daniels, G/OT, Utah – B Grade
Braeden Daniels played tackle in college, but will have to move to guard in the NFL. However, he should be able to play well at guard for a team that needed help with interior blocking.

137. K.J. Henry, DE, Clemson – B+ Grade
There are rumors that one of the Redskins’ starting edge rushers might be traded, so this pick makes sense from a need and a range perspective. K.J. Henry is a quality player who performed better than his numbers indicate at Clemson.

193. Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky – B- Grade
Chris Rodriguez is a power back who gets good yardage after contact. Another running back makes sense, though I think the Redskins should have went with a receiving back instead with J.D. McKissic gone.

233. Andre Jones, DE, Louisiana-Lafayette – C+ Grade
Andre Jones was productive at Louisiana-Lafayette, but I don’t see how he can make it in the NFL at the moment, given his lack of strength and overall size. He really needs to fill out his frame to have a shot.

2023 NFL Draft Team Grade: B. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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