Although the Washington Commanders 53-man roster is still a work in progress, the main cogs, aside from tight end, are pretty much set. Seeing as that is the case, I have given out grades to each position group, and an overall grade for the roster.
These grades take into account both starters and depth, with greater weighting going towards the starters in each positional group.
The C grade comes from the unknown that Sam Howell essentially is. I flirted with a B- but even the eternal optimist in me couldn’t go there until I see more from Howell behind this makeshift offensive line. I do, however, have high hopes!
This is a solid, but not dynamic group. Robinson and Rodriguez are more bruisers, where Gibson is a guy you’d like to get out in space to create mismatches for opposing defenses. Robinson has sneaky-good hands, and if he can be used some out of the backfield, it could open things up for Eric Bieniemy’s offense.
This group has great top-end talent and solid depth. McLaurin and Dotson are both upper-echelon players and Samuel is a sneaky option, especially now that he’s in Bieniemy’s new offense. Brown and Pringle offer excellent depth and Tinsley is a rookie with upside. Milne is a slot guy with limited return ability and is the weak link of this group.
Even if Logan Thomas comes back healthy, this group is still weak at the top and with depth. Cole Turner has the highest upside of the unit, but he’s too unproven to grade them any higher than a C.
This is a bottom five unit in the league and the grade reflects it. There is one young impact starter (Cosmi), and even he’s unproven as a guard. Charles has some upside, but he’s yet to make it through a season without injury. Rookie C/G Ricky Stromberg, who Rivera called a “developmental” prospect before training camp started, has come on nicely as of late and he may be one of the few on this unit (along with Cosmi) who have a future with this team.
Defensive line is without a doubt the strength of this football team and a top five unit in the NFL. The interior depth is a tiny bit concerning now that Mathis went to IR, but we do have Ridgeway and Obada (who can play inside if necessary) to still run the Bear Front. The EDGE position has very good upside and depth.
The Commanders are a 2-LB base defense (as is most of the NFL), however, this group does not inspire confidence among the fanbase. For two former NFL linebackers to devalue the positions as much as they seem to do is egregious.
The unit upgraded in a big way with first round pick Emmanuel Forbes, who throughout the preseason has been as advertised. Quan Martin, the Commanders second round pick, on the other hand has struggled. What helped raise the grade here is the solid depth on this unit. St-Juste is a great third corner (if he can stay healthy) and Danny Johnson offers inside-outside versatility. Christian Holmes played well in the preseason and looks to have made significant progress from his rookie season. Percy Butler had a quiet preseason but the staff really likes him as a free safety.
Tress Way is one of the best punters in the NFL. Slye is an average kicker who goes through stretches of inconsistency. Cheeseman is reliable.
Overall Grade: B-
The defense keeps this roster slightly about average as the unit as a whole has top five potential. The offense leaves a lot to be desired, especially at the two most important position groups on a football team - quarterback and offensive line. This team does have some quality playmakers, but will this offensive line allow the quarterback time to find them, and open up holes for them to run through?