This past Thursday night was one of the biggest evenings in Chase Young's life. The recently turned 21-year-old pass rusher would have one of his lifelong dreams of being a first-round NFL Draft pick fulfilled.
Shortly after 8 p.m. that evening, Redskins head coach Ron Rivera made the call to Young, informing the pass rusher that his hometown team would be selecting him with the No. 2 overall pick, a move many expected for weeks.
But after Young's initial emotions of hearing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saying his name faded, the newest Redskin had one simple thought cross his mind: "It's time to go to work."
"You get drafted that second pick, you know, people are going to be setting high expectations," Young said in a Zoom conference call with local media on Monday. "People are trying to label you with the Gold Jacket."
Young understands the expectations are lofty for him in Washington. He's heard the comparisons to pass rushing greats of the past, too. He's not shying away from them either; he told the local media that one player that his playing style is similar to is future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers.
The pass rusher is mature well beyond his age. Young realizes he has little time to waste as he hopes to help turn around an organization that has been near the bottom of the league for decades.
"I just try to mute everything out," he said. "I try to mute out the negativity; I try to mute out the positivity and just focus on football."
Young has wasted no time getting to know his new teammates, either. The day after he was drafted, Young drove over to Jonathan Allen's house to meet him.
"I just wanted to meet one of the leaders of the defense," Young said. "I feel like it was right to do that."
In addition to Allen, Young mentioned he plans to meet with his fellow defensive lineman and last year's first-round pick, Montez Sweat, too.
Being able to meet his new teammates so early on after being drafted is a luxury right now, as many recent draftees are not near their team's city due to the coronavirus pandemic. Young is fortunate to have been drafted by his hometown team, as he's already been living within driving distance of many of his new teammates.
When the world does return to a sense of normalcy and on-field practices can begin, Young will join the Redskins' deepest position group. Outside of Allen and Sweat, the team also has former first-round pick Daron Payne along the front line, too. Matt Ioannidis cannot be forgotten, either, as he had the best season of anyone in the unit a year ago when he was named a Pro Bowl alternate.
Young's Ohio State teammate Nick Bosa was in a similar situation in San Francisco a year ago. Like Young, Bosa was the No. 2 overall pick that joined a talented defensive line, but the 49ers as a whole were not a good football team the year prior. Bosa's impact completely transformed the defense, one that led San Francisco to the top seed in the NFC and a Super Bowl appearance last season.
The two situations aren't exactly identical, as Washington has many more holes on their roster than the 49ers did entering 2019. However, Young believes he can make a similar impact on the Redskins defense that has plenty of talent, yet vastly underperformed a year ago.
"The 49ers had a top D-Line and [Bosa] came in and just added more pressure," Young said. That's the only thing I'm trying to do here. Be a sponge and just play as hard as I can."
Young's NFL debut is still several months away. But when it comes, the pass rusher has a warning for opposing defenses.
"I'm fired up, man," he said. "We got a D-Line full of first-rounders. When we go, watch out."
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