The Washington Commanders drafting Chase Young second overall back in 2020 was a no-brainer. Yes, Justin Herbert should’ve been the pick, but that’s revisionist history and there’s no sense dwelling on what can’t be rewritten.
At the end of the day, Young has the potential to be a transformative edge rusher, which is maybe the second-most important position in the sport behind quarterback.
Yes, potential means you “haven’t done anything yet,” as Bill Parcells famously said, but we at least have a full season’s worth of a sample size that showed Young can live up to being a perennial Pro Bowler coming off the edge.
With that said, Young has a lot to prove after a lackluster nine games before he suffered a torn ACL in Week 10 of last season. The 23-year-old won’t have his sensational rookie campaign to fall back on after next season.
Despite his down 2021, Pro Football Focus still views Young as one of the most talented pass rushers the NFL has to offer, as analyst Sam Monson ranked Young in the second tier of his 2022 edge rusher rankings.
Do the rankings give Young too much credit? Let’s investigate.
Do Pro Football Focus’ edge rusher rankings give Commanders defensive end Chase Young too much credit?
The first tier composed of Defensive Player of the Year candidates, including TJ Watt, Myles Garrett, Khalil Mack, Micah Parsons, Joey Bosa, Maxx Crosby and Nick Bosa, respectively. The second tier, dubbed “Young Rushers With Huge Potential” featured Carolina’s Brian Burns, Green Bay’s Rashan Gary and Young, in that order.
Here’s what Monson said of Young
"Injury robbed us of a decent chunk of Young’s second season, but even before that point, he wasn’t building on his excellent rookie season, with lower PFF grades and pressure rates. Young was arguably the best pass-rushing prospect to enter the NFL since at least Garrett, and he now needs to show that was deserved praise."
Monson brings up a great point. Sooner or later (definitely the former), Young’s Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign will just be a memory, not a building block. Luckily for Young, being a catalyst during the team’s unlikely run to the playoffs — and tearing his ACL in the middle of Year 2 — was enough to bide him time.
In Monson’s eyes, Young and the rest of the second tier deserves to be ranked ahead of tiers three (Injury/Other Concerns) and four (Underrated Veterans), which boasts a ton of star-power, including Trey Hendrickson, Cameron Jordan, Shaq Barrett, Za’Darius Smith, Danielle Hunter, DeMarcus Lawrence and Carl Lawson.
If Young isn’t careful, though, he could fall to the “Need to Live Up to Potential” tier six, which is home to Marcus Davenport, teammate Montez Sweat, the oft-injured Jadeveon Clowney and Patriots star Matt Judon.
The final verdict? The former DROY definitely lucked out ranking higher than some of the other proven commodities here. Young’s talent goes without saying, but his standing amongst the game’s elite edge rushers could take a hit if his output doesn’t improve in 2022. Reputation can only get you so far in the NFL.