- The Washington Times - Monday, April 27, 2020

The day after the NFL draft, Chase Young went over to Jonathan Allen’s house.

Drafted second overall by the Washington Redskins, Young wanted to meet one of the leaders of the defense. Allen had been on Young’s radar ever since the Maryland native had heard about a “big dude in VA” who committed to Alabama. Now that they are teammates, Young said he felt it was right to go introduce himself.

After all, Young and Allen will be part of a defensive line next season that figures to be among the league’s best. The unit includes five players drafted in the first round: Young, Allen, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne and Ryan Kerrigan.

And that doesn’t even mention Matt Ioannidis, who led Washington with 8½ sacks last year.

The 21-year-old said he plans to reach out to the rest soon.

“I’m fired up, man,” Young said on a Zoom call Monday.

Young isn’t the only one salivating over the potential what the Redskins’ defensive line could be. Coach Ron Rivera even sounded giddy when discussing the unit, saying the group was one of the main reasons he was interested in the job. The Redskins view Young as the piece who will unlock the rest of the team.

Over the last few days, the Redskins’ plan on how to incorporate Young into their defense has come into focus. Rivera said Young will play 40 to 45 plays per game as part of a defensive rotation.

But with Young’s talent, Rivera said it will help the line create a push so opposing quarterbacks won’t be able to step up in the pocket. From there, quarterbacks have less time to throw, less time to throw means stronger secondary coverage and stronger secondary coverage helps the Redskins get off the field faster.

Think of it as a domino effect.

“It’s not necessarily just about the one guy as much as it is about putting the final piece in place,” Rivera said.

The San Francisco 49ers are commonly used as the gold standard for this. Last year, the team drafted Nick Bosa, Young’s former teammate at Ohio State, second overall to pair with their already-strong defense front. It turned out to be a massive improvement as the 49ers went from 23rd in defensive efficiency to second en route to a Super Bowl appearance.

Young, though, was already aware of what a stacked defensive line can do for his own play. He saw it at Ohio State when he was part of a front that led the nation in sacks. Young’s teams consistently featured five-star recruits, players like Bosa who went on to become NFL linemen. He finished last year with a career-best 16½ sacks and six forced fumbles.

“When you really work as a unit, and you’ve got all guys clicking on all cylinders, and every guy is a first-rounder,” Young said, “I don’t feel like the offense can really do anything with a defensive line like that.”

When Young examines his own game, he said he sees areas to improve. His hands could be better, he said. The same goes for his hips and his first step, he added.

But that work has never fazed Young. At Ohio State, Young used to ask his coaches to put together film from the NFL for him to study. Each week, he’d watch a compilation of sacks from every game and then detail the games of dominant pass rushers like Denver’s Von Miller, Chicago’s Khalil Mack and the Bosa brothers (Nick and Joey). He said he models his game after Julius Peppers, the former Panthers pass-rusher who was Young’s childhood favorite.

Young also closely watches film of offensive linemen, observing their tendencies. He’ll notice how, for instance, linemen will vary in their stance depending on the formation or how far back a player will extend his leg kick after the snap.

Young said he takes pride in his preparation. He added he tries to “mute out everything,” the Hall of Fame expectations put on his career. His focus, he said, is football.

At one point during Young’s video conference Monday, the pass rusher was asked about his first thought after the draft had finally ended and it sank in that he was with the Redskins.

“It’s time to go to work,” Young said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide