The season has not gone as intended for the Washington Commanders' offensive line with sack totals threatening historic highs and shifts in the depth chart, but there have been some bright spots amid the frustration that provide some hope for the future.
That includes 2021 second-round pick Sam Cosmi, who is 13 games into his first full season at right guard, and the former Texas Longhorn might be the one who has shined the most up front.
"It's the physicality, to inflict pain in others when they don't want you to do that," Cosmi said when asked about adapting to the position in training camp. "I've really enjoyed it."
Despite having limited experience at the position, Cosmi has performed like one of the best guards in the NFL this season. That's why you should do him a favor and vote him to his first Pro Bowl, HERE. Then, read about all that he's accomplished this season and vote for him again.
"He's one of those guys that's pretty quick and agile," Daron Payne told reporters July 28. "It's hard to do kind of some of the things that I like to do against him."
There were signs of how well Cosmi would handle himself at the position dating all the way back to training camp. Payne rushed Cosmi's outside shoulder during 1-on-1 pass protection drills, and when he realized he couldn't get around the former second-round pick, he tried to cut back up field to the quarterback. Cosmi mirrored his actions to perfection, keeping himself between Payne and his goal to win the rep.
Flash forward to Week 15, and the stats back up just how good Cosmi has been in 2023. Pro Football Focus ranks him as the seventh-best guard in the NFL (fourth in the NFC) with an offensive grade of 75.8 (this is the best grade for any Commanders offensive player). His run-block grade of 75.7 (also seventh among guards) is the second best of his career.
The Commanders have struggled more than most to protect their quarterback with Sam Howell being brought down 58 times, but little of that has come from Cosmi. He's only allowed one sack and four hits on 628 pass-blocking snaps played.
Considering that the Commanders pass the ball more than any other team and Cosmi has been involved in more pass-blocking plays than any guard -- Kansas City Chiefs guards Trey Smith and Joe Thuney are second on the list with 541 -- those number are worthy of some recognition.
"I think Sam made a seamless transition from right tackle to right guard for us," general manager Martin Mayhew said of Cosmi after the final roster cuts.
Cosmi performed admirably in the Commanders' season opener against the Arizona Cardinals, allowing zero pressures on 38 allowed pressure opportunities, according to PFF. He was the only starter on the Commanders' offensive line to accomplish that, and he was rewarded with a career-high pass-blocking grade of 88.4.
"I thought Sam Cosmi played exceptionally well. He really did," said head coach **Ron Rivera.** "He had a pretty solid day. Played very smart, played with good vision. There are a couple examples, some of the things that he did on some of the run blocks and then you can pull a couple shots of some of the things he did in protection, but Sam had a really good day."
Cosmi has recorded a clean sheet three other times this season: Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, when the rest of the Commanders' offense gave up nine sacks, Week 11 against the New York Giants and Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins. His efficiency this season has never dipped below 95.
Cosmi is not one to boast about his personal accomplishments, and there isn't much room for him to do so. The Commanders are 4-9 and allowed the second most sacks in the league. Offensive lines hinge on five players working as one, and as a whole, there has been some frustration.
But after never playing the position in college and only a few snaps in 2022, Cosmi has proven that only is he capable of handling his own in the interior, but he also does so better than most of his counterparts around the league.
So, go ahead and vote Cosmi to his first Pro Bowl. He's more than deserving of the honor.