Redskins

How the 49ers are proof that the Redskins should absolutely draft Chase Young

Redskins

An OVERwhelming amount of mock drafts project the Redskins to select Chase Young with the second overall pick this April, and that's an outcome a majority of fans want to see as well.

However, a subset of fans exist who would prefer Washington to trade down and let someone else land Young while the team collects more picks. And a main argument that subset of fans uses sounds something like, "Well, the Redskins clearly aren't one player away, so they should bypass Young and find a way to add extra talent."

That argument? It's fine. It's OK. It sounds logical.

But for those who are using that argument, consider what the 49ers have done in recent drafts. Perhaps that'll sway your opinion.

In 2015, San Fran drafted D-lineman Arik Armstead with the 17th overall pick.

In 2016, they added DeForest Buckner at No. 7.

In 2017, they nabbed Soloman Thomas third overall.

And in 2019, they took Nick Bosa with the same pick the Redskins will have in a few months.

This year, during a run that'll at least include an NFC title game appearance, those four combined for 28.5 of the defense's 48 sacks, with Armstead, Bosa and Buckner finishing first, second and third in that category.

 

Over a stretch of five drafts, the Niners loaded up on pass rushers and D-line difference-makers. They kept investing at that vital spot (they also traded for Dee Ford this past offseason) and eventually, that heavy focus tipped the scales and made that aspect of their defense unstoppable.

Now, that strategy is far from the only reason the organization has become one of the league's best on the field. Securing Jimmy Garoppolo has obviously mattered a ton, as has the chemistry between coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch. They've also acquired a host of dangerous running backs to help pace the offense.

That said, by overloading at that one place — even when some would be content with, say, doing so in back-to-back Aprils, as opposed to going so hard and addressing it in four out of five — the 49ers eventually ended up with a deadly rotation of premium players.

The Redskins could very well be on the precipice of accomplishing the same thing in D.C.

The Burgundy and Gold snagged first-round, front line defenders in 2017 (Jonathan Allen), 2018 (Daron Payne) and 2019 (Montez Sweat) and have also seen 2016 fifth-rounder Matt Ioannidis develop into a star. Those four, along with Ryan Kerrigan, have all had their moments. Together, though, they haven't become feared.

Young, though, may be just the person to initiate a unit-wide breakthrough. On defense, at least, the Redskins very well could be one player away, making Young the ideal prospect to trust when it's their turn on the clock.

Putting the Ohio State product alongside Allen, Payne, Ioannidis and Kerrigan, and in Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio's scheme, has the potential to be explosive. 

Sure, the odds of Young helping the Redskins go from second in the draft to the second-to-last weekend in a single year are low. As pointed out, plenty of other important factors clicked for San Fran to make that happen.

Yet Young could be the piece that causes the team's defense to go from disappointing to dominant. Yes, they've already spent so much on that part of the depth chart, but one more investment may be all the Redskins need to see their recent decisions finally all collectively pay off.

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