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Commanders find “ballhawk” in 16th overall pick Emmanuel Forbes

Shortly after the Washington Commanders selected Emmanuel Forbes with the 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft, the team released a video from head coach Ron Rivera that was filmed the morning of the Draft.

In the video, Rivera shares his thoughts about the Draft which was happening in just a few hours at that time: “The thing for us is if Emmanuel Forbes is sitting there, it’s an opportunity to get our guy. One of the guys that we really highly covet right now. He’s a playmaker. He’s a turnover machine. And that can impact our team and our defense in a very good way.”

Just like Rivera called it, the Commanders got their guy and they even passed up top ten cornerback Christian Gonzalez to snag Forbes.

“It’s exciting,” Forbes said in response to being drafted by the Commanders. “Honestly, just ready to work with the team and win games.”

Forbes played in 35 games with 33 starts at Mississippi State University. He recorded 142 tackles (89 solo), 14 interceptions, 34 passes defensed and a forced fumble. Forbes owns the FBS career record with six pick-sixes and is the FBS active career lead in overall defensive touchdowns (6). These particular stats are what intrigued the Commanders in the first place.

“He’s a game changer,” Commanders General Manager Martin Mayhew said. “I think people throw around the term ballhawk pretty loosely. This guy really is that. 14 career picks. He had six last year. He’s got six touchdowns, six pick-sixes in his career. He does a really good job playing the ball.”

Rivera added that his availability was also a factor: “His injury history was very low, very limited, you know, he may have missed a few practices from what I understand, but he didn’t miss games and that’s big. He’s a physical guy who takes his shot in terms of tackles, so you’re gonna get that kind of play from him. And you feel comfortable with that.”

If there is any negative that has been associated with Forbes, it is questions about his weight which has actually come from chatter outside the Commanders organization.

“Weight is going to come over time,” Forbes said. “I’m not going to stress about it, they didn’t have a problem with it, that’s why they drafted me, so I’m just going to enjoy it and just keep on being myself and trying to gain weight but be comfortable.”

Forbes is the eighth selected defensive back in the first round in franchise history and the second selected player from Mississippi State. Montez Sweat was drafted out of Mississippi State in 2019. In addition to Sweat, Forbes is joining a defense that just secured its future with Daron Payne.