Why Chase Young can actually be a serious DPOY candidate

Chase Young DPOY candidate in 2021?

The Washington Football Team opted to draft edge rusher Chase Young instead of a quarterback second overall in the 2020 draft. The pass rusher that looks like the Predator proved Washington’s decision to draft him right by winning Defensive Rookie of The Year in 2020. 

Headed into year two, sky is truly the limit for Young. The WFT edge player has garnered a year of pro competition, a stronger fit in the scheme, and the hunger to take that common second year pass rusher leap. 

I firmly believe that Young will not be the 2020 version of himself, or catch a case of the sophomore slump next season. In fact, I believe the WFT profile will take a giant step forward and place himself in the DPOY conversation when the next season has come to a close. Here is why great things lie ahead for the 6’5 255 freak defender.

  • Chase is ONLY 22 years old

It’s simple to state that a rookie player will improve as he garners more experience. Nonetheless, Young carries a much higher ceiling than most players heading into their second season. Historically speaking, pass rushers already tend to take a large step because they learn more techniques that weren’t instructed in college. An upgrade in pass rush technique combined with freakish athletic ability that pass rushers inhibit inevitably results in exponential growth of production.

J.J. Watt recorded 5.5 sacks in his rookie year, but his success skyrocketed to 20.5 sacks and a DPOY award in his second season. Former DPOY Khalil Mack went from four sacks as a rookie to unleashing a 15 sack count in his second year. Young’s rookie season doesn’t only compare well to these two profiles, but he was younger than these greats coming into the league. Young was 21 in his rookie season, whereas Mack was 23 as a rookie and Watt was 22 in his rookie season.

  • Competition in the division

The NFC East showcased not only the worst team outcomes in the league, but the worst pass protections in the league. In the 2021 offseason, minimal change was made by Washington’s division foes to enhance the OL, particularly at the left tackle position. 

The Giants LT is still anticipated to be Andrew Thomas, who was ranked as a bottom ten LT by PFF (Pro Football Focus) last season. In Dallas, the 30 year old Tyron Smith is coming off a season where he played two games. It’s also worth noting that the once clear top LT hasn’t played in more than 13 games in a season since 2015. The last place NFC East squad, also known as the Philadelphia Eagles, are very much rolling the dice at left tackle with soon to be first time starter Andre Dillard. 

Young had 4.5 of his 7.5 sacks against division opponents in 2020. He should be licking his chops heading into the 2021 divisional matchups, as the opponents will be unproven, young, or potentially sidelined with recurring injuries. 

  • Absence of Ryan Kerrigan

Ryan Kerrigan is an all time great Washington Football player. However, his time has come and gone in the team’s pass rushing corps. Kerrigan was the right mentor for Young, but his exit this offseason was due and it will allow more room for Young to see the field and stack up the stat sheet.

Kerrigan tallied 5.5 sacks last year, as he collected significant playing time during Young’s DROY season. The production lost by the ten year veteran DE can be replaced by Young and fellow pass rusher Montez Sweat. 

Young will no longer be seeing a third pass rusher eating a large chunk of his playing time, as he will be leaned on heavily entering his second year. More opportunities against divisional and NFL opponents are on the surface for the ascending pass rush talent. Expect Young’s progress to result in very elite success next football season. 

3 reasons why Washington will lead the NFL in sacks

Washington’s pass rush is the best

By: Reese Nasser

The football team in Washington is creating something worth cheering for and it’s being led by a defensive unit that is quickly becoming one of the best in the NFL. Washington’s defense is regarded as a top-five group entering this season and all signs point to them becoming even better. Second year player and defensive rookie of the year, Chase Young, is at the forefront of the defense and has become the leader of the group. Here are three reasons why Washinton will lead the NFL in sacks this season. 

Best Defensive Line in Football

Washibgton has crafted a defense line full of stars. Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat lead the front four. Each has quickly become one of the best at their position and the group as a whole is held in high regard. The other component that they have is youth. The oldest of the four is Allen, who is just 26 years old. Between this group, 21.5 of the teams 50 sacks were recorded. With an extra year of working together, the unit will only work better together. The four of these players alone could account for potentially 30 sacks if they are able to take yet another leap next season. 

Bringing the Defense Back

The fact that a majority of this defense is returning, with the addition of high-profile rookies, this unit will become even better. Nine of Washington’s eleven starts from last season will be returning. This should be room for excitement. As much of the team relies on the front four, the rest of the group should be able to build off of that. While the linebacker core only accounted for a few sacks, that should be expected to change as well.

The expectations will be high for the first round pick. His athleticism and all around ability to play the position will bring an extra dynamic to this defense. While Davis accounted for only 1.5 sacks in his final season at Kentucky, he still racked up 102 tackles. In Washington’s defense, it can be expected that Davis’ speed will be utilized in a way that it wasn’t in college. His 4.37 40-yard dash shows that he is fast and has top end speed. Bringing that type of speed off of the edge or on blitz will result in either Davis getting a decent amount of sacks in his rookie season or one of the star defensive lineman getting the reward.

Chase Young.

Chase Young’s stock continues to go up and up. In his rookie season, he was one of the best defensive players in football. The Ohio State standout is just another great in a long line of star defensive ends coming out of the school. Young’s impact was nearly instant in Washington. He led all rookies in pressure. 

His 7.5 sacks were hard earned as Young was often double teamed. Teams quickly realized how much of a threat he was. He is expected to take yet another leap in his sophomore season and will remain the focal point of this Washington team. Young will be expected to rack up double digit sacks and nobody will be surprised when he does. 

This unit will look to expand on the 50 sacks that they had last season. With the defense that has been assembled, that goal is possible. There is a chance that they could add at least an extra ten to their total from last season. 60 is manageable and will be well within reach for the players out in Washington. 

Which pass rush duo has the edge: Cleveland or Washington?

Washington pass rush or Cleveland pass rush?

By: Jeremy Trottier

Something that has noticeably been forming this offseason as well as the last is the edge rushing room for Washington and Cleveland.  Both teams have spent a top two pick on an edge rusher that is currently on the roster and have another high-level talent across from them.  In this article, I will be comparing these two edge duos, and determining which is better based on a few factors.  These being:

  • 2020 Production
  • Potential Growth from 2020-2021
  • Coaching (defensive coordinator)

The assumed starting duo for each team is Chase Young and Montez Sweat for Washington, as well as Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney for Cleveland.  Just so it is stated prior to my answer to this question, I believe both of these edge duos are phenomenal, respectively.  This is more about which one overall fits the most points to determine success.  

With this established, lets get right into the first of these points.

2020 Production

Starting off, we have how each of these edge duos produced as a combined unit in 2020.  Starting with Washington, rookie Chase Young and sophomore Montez Sweat combined put up the following statline:

  • Young started 15 games, Sweat started in 16
  • 16.5 sacks, 89 total tackles, and 32 QB hits
  • 22 tackles for loss, 6 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, and 2 total touchdowns

Overall, the duo performed extremely well for their first year together, as well as Chase’s first year in the league.  Being able to dominate at such a high level so early in both of their careers gives them a huge advantage, as they are only going to go upwards from here. 

Then we have the Cleveland duo’s stats.  Keep in mind that they did play on separate teams last year, so playing opposite of each other may dent these numbers slightly in 2021.  Under that pretense, here are their combined stats from 2020:

  • Garrett started 14 games, Clowney started in 8
  • 12.0 sacks (all from Garrett), 52 total tackles, and 24 QB hits
  • 14 tackles for loss, 5 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 0 interceptions, and 0 total touchdowns

The main reason they are so far apart is that the Washington duo (31 combined starts) had more playing time than the Cleveland duo (22 combined starts).  

Potential Growth from 2020-2021

This is more of a personal feeling rather than a true factually defined section like the last.  With that said, Washington’s duo most definitely has the most room to grow here.  There are a few factors that lead into why I believe this is the case as well.

First off, they are a much younger combined unit than Cleveland’s.  Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney are 25 and 28 respectively, while Chase Young and Montez Sweat are 22 and 24 respectively.  With this notion, the Washington duo should end up growing in their 2nd and 3rd seasons, at least at a higher rate than the Cleveland duo.

Coaching 

Finally, we have coaching, which is a little more interesting to think about.  Starting with Cleveland, they have Joe Woods at defensive coordinator who was just promoted into this role with 26 years of coaching experience.  However, his experience on the defensive side is enormous.  Serving as a DB coach for the Denver Broncos during their Super Bowl 50 victory, in which defense was a huge part of that game.  

On the other side, Washington has defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who is entering his 22nd season of coaching.  A former NFL player, as well as Super Bowl winner (as a coach) which was Super Bowl 35.  Overall, this is a pretty close debate between coaches, and will likely not lead to a huge change in either duo.  Rather the development of Washington’s, and the integration of Clowney into Cleveland’s.

Conclusion

With these points, seemingly each favors Washington, as they produced more in 2020, have the potential to develop even further and produce more in 2021, and have the coaching means to do so.  Granted, this is subjective, and based solely on my opinion as well as the stats available to me.  However, Washington is my final pick to be the better of the two edge rushing duos for now.  

Chase Young Can Join the DPOY Conversation in Year 2

Chase Young DPOY candidate in year two?

By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)

There were a lot of questions about the 2020 draft revolving during the offseason, but Chase Young’s draft stock was not one of them. The former Ohio State defensive end was regarded as one of the most bulletproof prospects we’ve ever seen at the position, and he was expected to immediately join the elite tier of defensive ends alongside fellow ex-Buckeyes Joey and Nick Bosa.

Young’s stats didn’t quite live up to his hype (just 7.5 sacks in 2020), but he was still a huge difference-maker on the field, and he is talented enough to join the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2021. His lack of huge numbers was also due to defenses keying on him, as he had the sixth-highest double-team rate out of any edge rusher in 2020, which is ridiculously high for a rookie. The emergence of other defensive line stars such as Montez Sweat should take some pressure of Young, and he’s likely to be a more polished player overall in year two.

At 6’5″, 265, Young is a big guy, but he’s extremely athletic for his size. Young is built primarily to be a sack machine, but he’s also great against the run, good enough to stifle even the best RBs. Everyone knew that Young was the pick for Washington at #2 in the 2020 draft, and people also knew that he was stepping into a great situation alongside other young pass rushers. Those pass rushers hadn’t fully unlocked their potential, but the hope was that with the arrival of an elite guy like Young, they’d flourish, and that’s exactly what happened.

As mentioned earlier, Young was someone who drew massive amounts of double-teams, which gave his fellow pass rushers plenty of room to operate. Montez Sweat was a primary beneficiary, as his nine sacks actually led the team, although other guys such as Ryan Kerrigan, Tim Settle, and Daron Payne also reaped benefits. Payne only had three sacks last year, but as mentioned, Young also is a force to be reckoned with against the running game, which helped Payne become more of a suffocating force on the inside.

Young played very well in the first two weeks of 2020, with 2.5 sacks, but over the next eight games, he only recorded one sack, while missing one of the eight due to injury. This wasn’t due as much to his quality of play, it was mainly just a cold spell of unluckiness (in terms of getting in a good sack situation), but even so, it had some people questioning his ability to be an elite NFL pass rusher. However, those questions went away during the rest of the season.

Over the last six games of the season, Young moved closer to being a stat-sheet dominator, with four sacks, eight QB hits, two forced fumbles, and a defensive TD. Those still aren’t Joey/Nick Bosa numbers, but the talent on Washington’s defensive line means that there won’t necessarily be a huge sack guy on there, particularly because they have multiple players who are great at getting to the QB. However, this doesn’t mean Young can’t rack up sacks, as he proved he has the potential to become elite on the stat sheet late last season.

Overall, Chase Young is an all-around elite player, and his high quality of play last year proved that the scouts were right when labeling him a generational talent. Yes, his stats weren’t amazing, but the narrative that “talent always wins out” has lots of merit, and it was clear that Young got better both on the stat sheet and in the games as the season went on. Young’s college tape blew away evaluators for a reason, and he showed he’s capable of being great in the NFL in his rookie year. Therefore, a second-year jump is to be expected, and if he lives up to the hype, he has a legitimate shot at being the next Defensive Player of the Year.

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