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The 5 O’Clock Club: Odds that Emmanuel Forbes becomes Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2023

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

NCAA Football: East Tennessee State at Mississippi State
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.
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

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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Here are the current odds on the leading candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2023:

As you can see, Washington first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes is 8th overall and the third-ranked cornerback, despite having been drafted ahead of Christian Gonzalez, Jack Campbell, and Nolan Smith.

In his 3-year career at Mississippi State, Forbes was outstanding. He was included on the SEC All-Freshman team in 2020 after recording 45 tackles and five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2021, he started all 13 games, recording 59 tackles and three interceptions. He was a consensus 2022 College Football All-America Team selection as a junior after pulling in six interceptions, with three returned for touchdowns.

Forbes is the ballhawk that the Commanders front office was looking for. He holds the NCAA Division I FBS record for most career interceptions returned for a touchdown (6) and is fourth in Mississippi State history with 14 interceptions. He also holds school records for the longest interception return at 90 yards, and the most interception yards in a season with 183.

The only real knock on Emmanuel Forbes is his size. While he is nearly 6’1” and has good length, Forbes weighed in at 166 pounds at the Combine (possibly having cut weight in order to increase his 40-time), but says that he played at well over 170 pounds in college.

Still, one look at him in a pair of shorts is enough to convince any fan that Forbes needs to keep eating sandwiches and that he should never skip ‘leg day’ at the gym.

NFL: Washington Commanders Rookie Minicamp Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If Forbes were 20-25 pounds heavier with the same college resume, he might well have been the top cornerback selected in the ‘23 draft, proving that size does matter to NFL scouts, but not so much to the Commanders’ coaches.


Which of the following comes closest to describing what you expect from Emmanuel Forbes in his rookie season?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    He’ll earn NFL DROY (or be among the top-3 vote getters)
    (293 votes)
  • 53%
    He’ll start 16 games for the Commanders and play well
    (575 votes)
  • 17%
    He’ll be okay; he won’t embarrass himself, but he’ll look like a rookie on the field
    (183 votes)
  • 1%
    His play will not justify a starting position for 17 games; somewhere during the season, he’ll become a backup/rotational CB
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Absolute bust!
    (8 votes)
1075 votes total Vote Now