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How Does Chase Young Fit in Lions' Defense?

Logan Lamorandier takes a look at how Chase Young fits in with the Lions' defensive scheme

Mock draft season is in full swing, and there have been a couple projections that have had Ohio State EDGE defender Chase Young falling to the Lions at No. 3. 

Whether the rumors are true or not, it's still not out of the realm of possibility that the Washington Redskins -- which hold the No. 2 overall pick -- end up trading back with a team looking to grab quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. 

The Redskins have much bigger holes than on the defensive line. 

With Tua's medicals looking promising, there could be an all-out bidding war that would create a package too good to pass up for Washington. 

In that case, the Lions would be sitting at No. 3, and Young would fall right into their lap.

If the hypothetical scenario were to come true, how would the Lions utilize Young in their very specific scheme?

Young has the body type of a prototypical 4-3 defensive end. 

At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, he will likely look like a defensive end, but test at the combine or his pro day with the athleticism of a linebacker.

In Matt Patricia's hybrid defense, he typically only uses one down defensive end, and the Lions just spent big money last offseason on Trey Flowers. 

Flowers is definitely more of a hand-in-the-dirt type player. That would likely move Young over to the JACK backer role. 

Currently, Devon Kennard is the Lions' stand-up rush linebacker. 

However, Young is very capable and agile enough to play just about anywhere. 

If Bob Quinn wants versatility, Young can be a mismatch no matter where he lines up -- a real chess piece for Patricia's defense.

With the Lions' dire need in the pass-rushing department, Young, Kennard and Flowers could be on the field in the "NASCAR-defensive front" look on obvious passing downs.

Flowers has rushed from the interior on many occasions, and Patricia could have both Kennard and Young rushing from the edge.

Make no mistake, Young would be a huge upgrade over Kennard against the pass. 

Not only that, but it would also free up Flowers from so many double teams and likely increase the production of the players around him. 

If Patricia wants to continue to play conservatively when rushing the passer, he needs a dynamic pass rusher that can be a true threat to get to the quarterback.

Young checks that box.

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In the run game, both edge spots must contain the outside rushes out of the backfield and not get moved around by the offensive linemen. 

Not only is Young an elite pass rusher, but his strength and agility also make running towards his side very difficult. 

He has elite range and a closing burst that is very difficult to get around -- even for running backs with top-flight speed.

Young has the potential to be a player that opponents have to specifically gameplan around. 

He does have some flaws that could be cleaned up. 

Yet again, the potential is sky-high given his skill set. 

Honestly, the Lions could probably line him up just about anywhere in their defense, and he would still create havoc.

All in all, Young is largely considered a "generational talent." 

It's a phrase that gets thrown around far too often, but Young is about as close as one can get to that label. 

Maybe Young would be better suited in Flowers' role, and the Lions would then subsequently have two defensive ends that split time. 

In my mind, it truly doesn't matter. 

If you can't find a role for Young in your defense, then, your defense is flawed and far too rigid.


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