Where does PFF rank the Commanders roster vs. the rest of the NFL?
The Washington Commanders have built a solid roster over the last several years. Washington has hit on its first-round picks for the most part and excelled on Day 3 of the NFL draft. The Commanders also found a home run in the third round in 2019 [Terry McLaurin] and solid, young standouts in third rounds of 2020 [Antonio Gibson] and 2021 Benjamin St-Juste].
Washington’s biggest remaining issue is at quarterback. Since Ron Rivera took over as head coach in 2020, he has started eight different quarterbacks. Rivera has gone all-in on the veteran route — he pursued Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo — before settling with Carson Wentz in 2022.
Now, Rivera is going with youth at the position, giving second-year passer Sam Howell the chance to be Washington’s quarterback in 2023 and beyond. And. just to be safe, the Commanders signed reliable veteran Jacoby Brissett to compete with and mentor Howell.
So, naturally, anytime you discuss Washington’s overall roster, you must take into account every position. Howell could prove to be a steal for the Commanders, or they could be picking in the top 10 looking for a quarterback in 2024.
Pro Football Focus ranked every NFL roster recently, with Washington coming in at No. 17. PFF likes the Commanders’ roster, but QB concerns are valid until proven otherwise.
Here’s how PFF assessed Washington:
Biggest strength in 2023: Coverage
Washington’s secondary kept the team in most games despite the offense’s struggles in 2022. Kamren Curl finished last year with the second-best overall grade among qualified safeties, leading a unit that allowed 30 points only twice all season. The coverage unit held up its end of the bargain, and the addition of first-round rookie Emmanuel Forbes adds another ball hawk to an already solid unit.
Biggest weakness in 2023: Quarterback play
The combination of Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke simply didn’t cut it in 2022. Sam Howell played a decent Week 18 game against the Cowboys, but the uncertainty at quarterback in Washington feels perpetual at this point. They finished with the third-worst passing grade in the NFL last year and come into 2023 on similarly shaky ground. The incumbent Howell will be joined by journeyman Jacoby Brissett. Despite a solid set of weaponry, the quarterback spot may be the Commanders’ undoing again.
X-Factor for 2023: Edge Chase Young
Rookie to watch: CB Emmanuel Forbes
Over/Under 6.5 win total: Under
There’s a lot to like about Washington’s roster. They have everything you need to be a playoff team … except the quarterback. They won’t carry the advantage in that department most weeks with Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett. They play 10 games against 2022 playoff teams, plus tough road games against the Jets, Patriots and Broncos. It’ll be tough to scratch out low-scoring wins week to week.
That’s certainly a fair criticism. The quarterback position remains a question mark until someone — Howell, Brissett, etc. — proves otherwise. The Commanders are hoping new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy can get the most out of Howell and the offense.