Commanders News: Chase Young, Sam Howell, Jadeveon Clowney and Terry McLaurin

Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Chase Young is Commanders X-factor in 2023

As previously stated, the Washington Commanders' defense can emerge as the league's best if Chase Young somehow manages to come through a 17-game slate unscathed. It's been a turbulent two years for the once-generational talent after winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, which left those in power with no alternative other than to refuse his fifth-year option.

Nobody could have envisaged such a scenario after Young's rookie campaign. However, a serious knee injury coupled with some indifferent performances leaves his future hanging in the balance.

With Montez Sweat also looking for a bummer new deal in 2024, the Commanders could have a problem on their hands if Young remains healthy and enjoys a significant upturn in numbers. Something that was highlighted by Seth Walder of ESPN, who named the former Ohio State edge phenom as Washington's primary X-factor in 2023.

"The Commanders showed their understandable reservations about Young when they declined to pick up his fifth-year option. Young still is the player that ranked seventh in pass rush win rate at edge (23%) as a rookie, and his 2021 was better than his 1.5-sack total indicated, with a 19% PRWR at edge, according to ESPN Analytics and NFL Next Gen Stats."

Seth Walder, ESPN

Washington has been happy with Young's progression this offseason, even though he skipped the voluntary portion of OTAs. But that will count for absolutely nothing if the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft cannot produce the goods in a competitive environment.

And of course, staying on the field helps too.