The Washington Commanders are about a month removed from wrapping up the 2022 season with a win over the Dallas Cowboys, and now it is time to start looking at 2023 and how the team can build off its 8-8-1 finish.
Over the next few weeks, Commanders.com will break down every position group and lay out how the Commanders could improve the group in the coming months. Here are the positions we have covered so far:
Next up are the cornerbacks.
On the roster
- Kendall Fuller: 17 games (17 starts), 52 tackles, 13 PDs, 3 INTs, 2 TDs
- Christian Holmes: 17 games (2 starts), 12 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries
- Danny Johnson: 11 games (4 starts), 29 tackles, 9 PDs, 1 INT
- Rachad Wildgoose: 15 games (3 starts), 16 tackles, 3 PDs
- Tariq Castro-Fields: 2 games
- Benjamin St-Juste: 12 games (12 starts), 42 tackles, 7 PDs, 1 forced fumble, 2 sacks
-- Benjamin St-Juste proved he can be a quality starter: St-Juste worked through a couple different positions in his second season. First, he was placed at the nickel position because of his length and quickness. Then, once William Jackson III was injured and ultimately traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was moved back to being an outside corner.
He played well at both, but he stood out the most when he was put back at his original position.
St-Juste was matched up against opponents' top receivers and held his own against the likes of Justin Jefferson and Brandin Cooks. He also provided the game-winning tackle on Darnell Mooney at the 1-yard line that helped Washington get their win against the Chicago Bears.
In the 12 games that St-Juste played, he allowed receivers to catch 53.8% of their targets with his best performance coming against the Houston Texans, when he limited receivers to four years when targeted.
St-Juste's was sidelined with an ankle sprain, but he showed that he can be a key piece of the Commanders' secondary moving forward.
-- The second got back to being a top five unit: After a lackluster performance in 2021, it was clear that the Commanders' secondary needed a bounce back season. In just one season, the group went from 29th in passing yards allowed to fourth with 191.3 yards per game.
While explosive plays, which were a problem for the Commanders in 2021, became a bigger issue at times late in the season, the secondary made a habit of holding quarterbacks to less the 200 yards through the air. During the season finale, which saw the Commanders take down the Dallas Cowboys in a 26-6 victory, Dak Prescott put together his worst passing performance of the season with 128 yards.
By the time the 2022 season had concluded, Washington had held opponents to less than 200 net passing yards in 11 games.
-- A need for more depth: If anything was clear by St-Juste's absence, it was that Washington needs to add more depth at cornerback.
That is not to say that the Commanders need to completely rework the position. Fuller, the most experienced corner on the roster, is an overall solid starter, while players like St-Juste and Johnson have shown they can be important contributors. Even players like Holmes showed promise in limited action.
The group was stretched thin once St-Juste went down, though, and teams were able to exploit that. One of the most damning examples came in the first matchup against the New York Giants, when Darius Slayton grabbed a 55-yard reception in the first half.
Whether it is through the draft, free agency or both, the Commanders could use another option at the position.
Should the Commander choose to add another veteran to their cornerback group, the top options include Marcus Peters and James Bradberry. Check out the other players set to be available in free agency, HERE.
The Commanders are set to start the draft with the No. 16 overall pick, and several analysts believe they will take the best cornerback available. Check out the top prospects at the position, HERE.