There has been little argument throughout the draft process that Ohio State EDGE Chase Young is the best player in the 2020 NFL Draft.
For a long time, it seemed as though the silver lining to the New York Giants dismal 2019 season would be the right to select Young at the top of the draft. But that opportunity seemingly slipped away near the end of the season when the Giants beat the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.
It is still possible — theoretically — that Young can slip to the Giants at No. 4 overall. It would require at least one trade in the first three picks and a surprise, but it is possible. It is more likely that the Giants could face Young twice a year as a member of the Washington Redskins. In either case, it pays to be familiar with him.
Prospect: Chase Young (EDGE, Ohio State)
Games watched: vs. Indiana (2019), vs. Michigan State (2019), vs. Wisconsin (2019 - Conference Championship), vs. Clemson (2019 - College Football Playoffs)
Red flags: None
Games played (starts): 34
Tackles for a loss: 40.5
Forced fumbles: 9
Games played (starts): 12
Tackles for a loss: 21.0
Forced fumbles: 7
Best: Size, explosiveness, power, production
Worst: Finishing pass rush moves
Projection: Starting EDGE in any defense and perennial pro bowl player.
Young sports an excellent blend of size, thickness, length, and athleticism for an EDGE in any defensive scheme. Young played all over the Ohio State front seven, lining up as an outside linebacker, defensive end, 3 and 5-technique defensive tackle, and was productive at all positions.
Young has an exceptional get-off and is noticeably the first player moving on any given play. He generally times the snap well and has a good feel for the rhythm of the offense. Young is easily able to stress offensive tackles with his burst off the line of scrimmage, routinely forcing them to turn their hips early.
He shows a good variety in his rush strategies, mixing both speed and power moves. He uses his hands well to keep tackles from gaining his chest plate and to neutralize blocks to make plays. He finishes his rushes with authority at the ball carrier, routinely wrapping up for tackles for a loss or sacks, as well as attacking the football to generate turnovers.
Young is a stout run defender, able to stand up tackles when asked to two-gap and control both the B and C-gaps. He also shows a good ability to not allow himself to be reach-blocked, putting his hips in the appropriate gap when playing a 1-gap technique. Young also has good discipline when playing read-option or RPO plays.
He also can drop into coverage and play in space against the pass. Young shows good fluidity and short-area quickness in space. Likewise, he shows good awareness to trigger downhill against passes underneath, screen plays, or running plays.
There are few true weaknesses in Young’s game, but he could stand to improve how he finishes his pass rush moves. Currently, he lets his hands get a bit lazy after he beats a tackle but before he is past, making it more difficult to carry speed around the corner and giving the impression of lower-body stiffness.
Overall Grade: 7.4 - An immediate high-impact player with the traits to be a Pro Bowl player as a rookie. Top five pick. [Grading Scale]
Young projects as a starting EDGE player in any defensive scheme, with the versatility to play a variety of alignments within the scheme.
Young boasts a prototypical build with good height and weight, as well as good thickness through his upper and lower body to generate the power to control and defeat blockers. He is also an excellent athlete with a great burst and get-off, agility, burst, and short-area quickness.
He has been well-coached at Ohio State and enters the NFL with solid technique and a variety of options with which to beat blockers.
Young was consistently productive at Ohio State, and his presence created opportunities for his teammates to make plays. Opposing teams would consistently roll protection his way or design plays to minimize his opportunity to make an impact (Wisconsin - conference championship game).
While he is built — and frequently played — like as a 4-3 defensive end, Young can drop into coverage and play effectively in space. His range is about what you would expect from a player his size, but he moves well within that range.
There are precious few nits to pick in Young’s game. It would be nice to see him play with a consistently high level of hustle in pursuit of the play. At times it seems he throttles back if it appears his teammates have the play in hand. Technique-wise, and this was noticed by SB Nation’s Stephen White, Young could stand to incorporate a rip move to finish his pass rush. At times it appeared as though he has some stiffness through his lower body, but that could be due to him finishing his rushes higher (such as with an arm-over). When he does use a rip move, Young shows good bend and body lean.
Young should be the next in the line of excellent EDGE players to come out of Ohio State and he should be drafted within the first three picks.