With Chase Young, Washington Takes a Step in the Right Direction

Washington hired Ron Rivera to reverse years of managerial ineptitude; drafting Chase Young is a good start.

Amid a chaotic draft season with disparate big boards across the league, it seemed that Chase Young was one of the few prospects who almost everyone could agree on. The Ohio State EDGE rusher was good enough to keep Washington standing pat at No. 2 despite trade-up interest in both the slot and the player.

With Young, Ron Rivera makes his first significant move to reshape a franchise in shambles. After bottoming out in 2019, Washington turned to the long-time Panthers head coach not only as a coach but as the CEO of a football team that had been buried underneath one season of administrative ineptitude after another. Like fellow Ohio State alums Nick and Joey Bosa before him, Young appears to be worth the significant investment.

Coaches are creatures of habit, and Rivera reached a Super Bowl in 2015 thanks in part to a stout defensive line and blistering pass rush, with five players who logged double digit quarterback hits during the season. Now, Young joins a four-man front that is already composed of a slate of first-round picks (Montez Sweat, Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan). Even with myriad needs across their roster, Young instantly makes Washington’s pass rush one of the most intimidating in the NFL.

This is a strange time for the EDGE rushing position and category as a whole. There is a glut of talent both on the trade block and remaining in free agency. The skyrocketing price of a blue-chip pass rusher is being juxtaposed against defensive coordinators who are becoming increasingly creative with their schemes. Is it more advantageous to have someone who routinely beats an elite offensive lineman on the outside and commands a double team, or a defense that can rush the passer from nearly any spot on the field?

In that way, Young checks multiple boxes for Rivera and Washington. He is cost controlled on his rookie deal and he can play nearly anywhere on the defensive front, including as a roving stand-up chess piece prowling around to bungle protection schemes; valuable enough to keep even if the rest of the football world was also hoping he might be available.

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