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The 5 O’Clock Club: Commanders defensive line unit ranked 3rd in the NFL ahead of ‘23 season

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

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NFL: JAN 01 Browns at Commanders Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 5 o’clock club is published from time to time during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

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It’s ranking season, and this week, PFF is at it with preseason rankings of NFL units such as offensive line, running backs, defensive line, defensive secondary, etc.

Defensive line

As one might expect, the Eagles got a lot of love on both sides of the ball from the ranking service, but the Commanders weren’t completely ignored. In particular, PFF seems to believe in Washington’s all-first-round-picks defensive line, which is ranked third behind the Eagles and 49ers. I was initially confused by the PFF comment about Chase Young possibly not being on the roster until I realized that they were referring, not to the health of his knee, but to the constant unfounded rumors about the possibility of Young being traded.

3. Washington Commanders

It remains to be seen whether edge defender Chase Young will still be on the roster when the season kicks off. But, as things stand, Washington’s starting defensive line consists of four former first-round picks.

The interior is led by Jonathan Allen, who has graded among the top 20 interior defenders for three straight seasons. And on the edge, they have Montez Sweat, who earned a career-high 86.4 grade that ranked eighth among players at the position last season.

Defensive Secondary

Interestingly, PFF says that Washington’s secondary finished 5th in the 2022 end of season coverage rankings, and that they took steps to improve by drafting two players early, but then go on to drop the unit six spots:

11. Washington Commanders

Projected starters: CB Kendall Fuller, CB Emmanuel Forbes, CB Benjamin St-Juste, S Darrick Forrest, S Kamren Curl

This group ranked fifth among teams in coverage grade last season at 82.5. Curl finished second among his peers in overall grade last season, while Fuller ranked top-20 in coverage once again. Washington also targeted the secondary with its first two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, so expect improved play from an already sound group.

Other rankings:

  • Receiving corps (includes TEs) 19th
  • Linebackers 25th
  • Running backs 27th
  • Offensive line 27th


What do you think about the defensive line ranking at #3?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Too high
    (90 votes)
  • 12%
    Too low
    (107 votes)
  • 77%
    Just right
    (694 votes)
891 votes total Vote Now


What do you think about the defensive secondary ranking at #11?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Too high
    (97 votes)
  • 53%
    Too low
    (448 votes)
  • 34%
    Just right
    (287 votes)
832 votes total Vote Now


Which of these rankings do you think PFF go wrong?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Receiving corps at #19
    (490 votes)
  • 1%
    Linebackers at #25
    (11 votes)
  • 35%
    Running backs at #27
    (308 votes)
  • 2%
    Offensive line at #27
    (22 votes)
  • 4%
    They all look about right to me
    (43 votes)
874 votes total Vote Now