It was hard to notice watching the draft while fixated on the problematic offensive line of the Washington Commanders. The hiring of former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, Eric Bienemy probably led you to believe that Washington was going to focus heavily on improving the talent and depth of their blocking unit in the draft.
Pas si vite!
It wasn't until Ron drafted the second consecutive turnover creating defensive back that it began to set in. Ron has finally completed building his second manifestation of the 2015 Carolina Panthers defense, in Washington. A defense whose secondary was affectionately known as "The Thieves from Thieves Avenue".
The 2015 Panthers had 24 interceptions of which 4 were returned for TDs. They had 2 players in the top 10 in interceptions (Kurt Coleman & Mike Adams) and 2 others players tied in the top 15 (Luke Kuechly & Josh Norman).
By comparison the 2022 Commanders defense managed just 9 interceptions with 2 being returned for TDs. Emmanuel Forbes (6 ints ) & Jartavius Martin (3 ints) are the cap stones to Ron's defensive vision. Darrick Forrest's emergence last season (4 ints) as a premier safety only intensified the need to see the vision through.
The 2015 Panthers were able to create turnovers at all levels of their defense exemplified by Luke Kuechly & Thomas Davis having 4 ints each in 2015. No one in their right mind would mistake Cody Barton for Kuechly but he did have 2 ints despite starting just 11 games. Jamin Davis has yet to log a single interception in his career but Rivera has repeatedly paralleled Jamin and his growth to that of Thomas Davis.
The similarities extend beyond the secondary. The dominant Commanders defensive line of Sweat, Payne, Allen and Young
spark memories of Charles johnson, Kony Ealy, Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short with Jared Allen and Mario Addison providing depth.
You could argue that the 2023 Commanders D-Line is significantly better.
Watching the Commanders continuously pass up on higher ranked players from bigger schools can be agonizing at times but this draft was never about the best player available, it's about a man, a coach, seeing his vision through.
This is Rivera's " Purple Rain" if you were born in the 70s, " Only Built 4 Cuban Linx " if you were born in the 80s and "Tha Carter III" if you were born after that. Either way, you get the point. Ron has completed what he hopes to be, his self titled masterpiece with the Commanders. If he's right, he could lead this team to places it hasn't been since the 90's. ...If he's wrong, Black Monday 2024 will come for him like "Theives" in the night. Only the Thieves won't be coming from Thieves avenue, they'll come from the offices at 21300 Coach Gibbs drive.