First-year defenders will take time to adjust to NFL speed and size. For the Washington Football Team, Chase Young is the exception.
Well before ever hearing his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft, the league knew Young was going to to be a nightmare to block for all pass-protectors. One season into his NFL career and he hasn't disappointed.
NFL.com's Nick Shook recently released his 'All-Under-25 Team' for 2021. No surprise, Young was named the top edge defender along with former Ohio State teammate and current 49ers star Nick Bosa.
Young finished with 7.5 sacks as a rookie and likely would've had more had he not been forced to fight through a groin injury suffered early in the season. He still won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award after becoming the first rookie with 10-plus QB hits, 10 or more tackles for loss and three or more fumble recoveries since Clay Matthews in 2009. Young was one of just six players with at least four forced fumbles and 10 or more tackles for loss in 2020, joining the likes of Aaron Donald and last year's selection for this spot, Myles Garrett. It seems as if Young is only just getting started in his promising career. - Nick Shook
Young's success in 2020 allowed him to take home the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors on the way to a division title. Despite posting a top 10 defense for the season, the rookie finished second on the roster in sacks, trailing just second-year defender Montez Sweat.
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The pass-rushing duo is expected to be one of the league's best come September. Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera prioritized defense this offseason with the additions of William Jackson III, Jamin Davis and Benjamin St-Juste. Washington finished top-five in pass defense, allowing an average of 191.8 yards per game.
Part of the reason for a successful secondary? Pressure off the edge from Sweat and Young.
Washington is looking for its first back-to-back division win since 1992. The defense at hand will be able to match any opposing offense. Can the new offensive pieces be enough to beat the likes of Dallas and New York?
One piece won't be enough for a defense to be considered 'elite', but it doesn't hurt having a player like Young leading the charge. And maybe, that's enough for Washington to be team to beat in the NFC East altogether.
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