PFF ranks Chase Young as best defensive rookie of 2020, and it’s not even close


There was never any doubt who the Washington Football Team would select with the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Turns out, their choice was the right one.

In their end of the year rankings, Pro Football Focus ranked Washington edge rusher Chase Young as the best defensive rookie in the league—and by a huge margin.

PFF gave Young an overall rating of 87.2, more than 13 points higher than the runner-up, Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. That’s a massive gap, considering the divide between Sneed and the fifth-highest rated defensive rookie, Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler, was only three points. Here’s how the top five list shook out:

  1. Chase Young, EDGE, Washington Football Team (87.2)
  2. L’Jarius Sneed, CB, Kansas City Chiefs (73.9)
  3. Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Pittsburgh Steelers (72.0)
  4. Raekwon Davis, DT, Miami Dolphins (71.1)
  5. Cameron Dantzler, CB, Minnesota Vikings (70.9)

Young’s 87.2 rating was also good enough for the sixth-highest of all edge rushers in the league.

Pro Football Focus’ admiration of Young wasn't exclusive to defensive players. Young rated as the second-best rookie in the entire league, regardless of position. Minnesota Vikings superstar receiver Justin Jefferson nabbed the top spot on that list.

After a historic rookie campaign, Chase Young scooped up the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, just as swiftly as he scooped up that fumble for a touchdown versus San Francisco in Week 11.


Young has only played 15 games in the NFL, but he has already solidified himself as the stalwart of a stacked defensive unit in D.C. With four forced fumbles (tied for third in the league), topped off with 7.5 sacks and 32 solo tackles, Young demonstrated his prowess as a pass rusher and a locker room leader.

He’s part of what’s looked like a total culture change in Washington, and for the better. With defensive-minded Ron Rivera as a head coach, there’s no telling what Young’s ceiling could be down the road.  

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