You can count on one hand the number of defensive players over the past several years that had as much hype surrounding them entering the NFL as Redskins pass rusher Chase Young does.
For the most part, the hype around Young is justified. The pass rusher led the nation in sacks a year ago despite missing two games due to a suspension. Young took home almost every major defensive award he could in 2019 and was named a Heisman Trophy finalist, becoming just the ninth defender since 1982 to be invited to New York for the ceremony.
The Redskins selected Young second overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, and frankly, they were lucky he was still available. Young was considered the best player in the draft by many experts, and the Bengals only passed on him because the needed a quarterback.
The expectations for Chase Young in Washington are extremely high, almost to a point where it's understandable to question if they are too high.
But for one analyst, the expectations for Young are just about right. Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport believes that Young will make an instant impact for the Redskins, and in fact, an impact that'll be unmatched by any rookie pass rusher in the NFL before him.
"I believe Chase Young is going to break Jevon Kearse's rookie sack record of 14.5," Davenport said on Chad Dukes Versus the World last week. "Fifteen sacks as a rookie."
This isn't the analyst's first time publicly praising Young to this extent. Last week, Davenport wrote a story detailing why he believes the Ohio State product could do something as a rookie pass rusher that has ever done before.
So, why exactly is Davenport so confident that Young will make an immediate impact? His answer was simple.
"I don't know that I can remember a guy who's this complete of a package," he said.
"He might not be as technically sound as the Bosa boys, but he's more advanced than you generally see from a young edge rusher entering the NFL," Davenport continued. "You combine that with the physical gifts, they're off the charts, he can do things that other guys just can't do. He can do things that you cannot teach, cannot coach. Guys can either do it, or they can't."
Throughout the pre-draft process, Young earned comparisons to plenty of former NFL greats, with Lawrence Taylor and Julius Peppers just a pair of examples. He's earned high praise from both head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, too. Even Young's former head coach at Ohio State, Ryan Day, called him a "generational talent," a term that has often been thrown around the pass rusher's name this spring.
Of current players, one defensive lineman that Young drew many comparisons to during the pre-draft process was Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns. Garrett was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and has been outstanding for Cleveland ever since. The pass rusher was named to the second-team All-Pro squad his second season in the NFL, and was on his way to a first-team selection last season before a suspension prematurely ended his season.
While many analysts see a resemblance between Young and Garrett, Davenport believes the Redskins rookie enters the NFL at the same skill level the Browns pass rusher is at right now.
"To me, he's Myles Garrett in 2020 entering the NFL," the analyst explained. "He's Garrett with a few years of NFL play under his belt. Garrett's become a more tactical defensive end. It showed in his game, he had 10 sacks in the first seven games for the Cleveland Browns last year."
Davenport also explained that Young enters a situation that is almost a perfect fit for the rookie pass rusher.
Entering the 2020 NFL Draft, the Redskins defensive front was already the best and deepest unit on the team. Between Jonathan Allen (2017), Daron Payne (2018) and Montez Sweat (2019), the Burgundy and Gold used a first-round pick on a defensive lineman in three straight drafts even prior to the selection of Young. Plus, Washington still has four-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan and Matt Ioannidis, the team's best defensive lineman from 2019, in the fold, too.
"That front seven is as good, the defensive line is as good as any in the NFL. That includes San Francisco," Davenport said. "You look at that talent, you got five first-round picks. That's without even bringing up Matt Ioannidis, who had eight sacks last year."
In college, Young demanded all the attention from opposing offensive linemen. He was practically double-teamed on every passing down, and sometimes, even triple-teamed. In Washington, there's simply too much talent around Young for NFL teams to do that.
"If they do commit the kind of attention to Chase Young that opponents did during that so-called 'slump' he had towards the end of last season, then Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat and those guys, the Redskins are going to rack up eight sacks a game, because none of the other guys are going to be blocked," Davenport said.
With all the talent the Redskins have up front, Young will likely get some one-on-one matchups with offensive tackles for the first time in years. That's not good news for any offensive tackle that has to play Washington next season.
"I don't know how many NFL linemen are going to be able to beat Chase Young on a single-team," Davenport said.
So, combining Young's complete skill set with the situation he landed in, Davenport has plenty of validity for why he believes the pass rusher could put together a rookie season no one at his position has ever had before.
"It's perfect for him," Davenport said on the fit with Washington. "I expect Chase Young to make an immediate impact. Day 1."
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