Commanders Urged to Add Dan Quinn Favorite to ‘Mentor’ Emmanuel Forbes Jr.

Emmanuel Forbes

Getty The Washington Commanders can sign a Dan Quinn favorite in free agency to "mentor" CB Emmanuel Forbes.

Selecting Emmanuel Forbes Jr. 16th overall in the 2023 NFL draft looked like a wasted pick for the Washington Commanders, but All-Pro Stephon Gilmore could “mentor” the second-year cornerback. New head coach Dan Quinn has been urged to reunite with the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year after the two worked together with the Dallas Cowboys last season.

Gilmore is one of the prized veterans in this year’s free agency class, and Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports believes the decorated corner can “anchor a young secondary and be a mentor” for Forbes.

Cost won’t be an issue, even though Gilmore is projected by to earn $11.1 million annually. Fortunately, the Commanders are expected to have $96,443,548 to work with under the salary cap.

Putting together a deal for 33-year-old Gilmore would be a way for the Commanders to find one of the “few relative bargains” in a “corner market” Vacchiano notes “isn’t great beyond Jaylon Johnson, L’Jarius Sneed and (Kendall) Fuller.”

Gilmore is still playing at a high level and would surely have a thing or two to teach Fuller. The latter is opportunistic and has the core skills to be a playmaker in man coverage.

Skills Quinn and new defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. can unlock in a more aggressive scheme.

Stephon Gilmore a Natural Fit for Dan Quinn’s Defense

Quinn’s Cowboys unit played a lot of Cover 1, man coverage in front of a single-high safety. Gilmore proved a natural fit for the scheme because he can still shutdown receivers in one-on-one matchups.

That’s what Quinn trusted Gilmore to do against Pro Bowler A.J. Brown when the Cowboys hosted the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14. Gilmore responded by allowing a 69.2 completion percentage and limited receivers to 30 yards after the catch from nine completions, per Pro Football Reference.

Gilmore’s best play occurred when he tackled Brown short of the sticks to force a turnover on downs late in the third quarter.

As ESPN’s Ed Werder pointed out, defensive coordinator Quinn was happy “putting the pressure on” Gilmore. Quinn knows Gilmore hasn’t lost a knack for shutting down one side of the field.

That was the expectation for Forbes, but the former Mississippi State standout struggled adapting to the pro game.

Emmanuel Forbes Has Work to Do to Improve

While Gilmore bossed Brown, Forbes was bullied by the Eagles wideout in Week 4. Brown burned Forbes for six catches, 147 yards and two touchdowns, according to NBCSPhilly’s Dave Zangaro, citing Pro Football Focus.

Forbes’ slight frame left him routinely overpowered by Brown and other big-bodied receivers. At 6-foot and 180 pounds, Forbes lacks the physicality to play the press-style coverage Quinn has often favored.

Getting Forbes to bulk up with a new strength program this offseason is an option. Yet, the Commanders don’t want to waste the ball-hawk traits that made the 23-year-old the FBS record-holder for pick-sixes.

Forbes will likely need to add a tougher edge to his game to fit Quinn and Whitt’s system. If not, the new defensive braintrust could turn to other options.

Those options might include moving Forbes’ fellow second-year pro Jartavius Martin to the outside permanently. Martin played some safety at Illinois, but the 195-pounder is more of a physical presence at corner. So is 6-foot-3, 200-pound Benjamin St-Juste.

Quinn has options to make a more handsy coverage scheme work, but none are on Gilmore’s level. If he helps the Commanders get something from their investment in Forbes, all the better.

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