Did restrictions cause Commanders to miss critical Chase Young red flag?

This was extremely unfortunate...

Chase Young
Chase Young / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

A recent report suggests the Washington Commanders missed a critical red flag during Chase Young's pre-draft medical checks in 2020.

Chase Young was a generational edge rushing prospect coming out of Ohio State. The Washington Commanders made him the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft despite the need for a long-term quarterback after Dwayne Haskins' underwhelming rookie season. Dan Snyder's influence and blind faith in the signal-caller meant Ron Rivera went with the defensive end instead.

This was a difficult year to properly evaluate prospects. The COVID-19 restrictions placed across the country meant reports were sketchy and in-person assessments were almost non-existent. Something that could have caused the Commanders to miss a critical piece of information where Young is concerned.

According to a recent report from Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, that's exactly what transpired.

Commanders could have spotted Chase Young's neck issue pre-draft

After Young signed for the New Orleans Saints in free agency, revelations about a neck issue surfaced. He's having surgery to potentially resolve the complication once and for all. The preseason stinger suffered against the Cleveland Browns and the long recovery that followed not only raised concerns further, it also impacted his trade value before the deadline and his quest to find another home in free agency.

"Scans on his neck made it tough to find a suitor. No one would clear him on his physical. The condition was initially found after he had a stinger last year vs. the Browns in preseason. He'll have neck surgery. The idea in doing the 1-year deal with the Saints, with $5.01 million guaranteed, and $7.99 million in per-game rosters, was to allow for Young to get locked in with a team, go through the 3-5 month rehab from surgery, and have a chance to make the money back. The neck condition was a factor, too, in his trade market back in October. The Bears weren't comfortable with the scans. The Niners were. He was part of that 2020 draft class that had its process messed up because of COVID. There's a decent chance, given a full process, someone would've found the neck condition."

Albert Breer via X

Had the Commanders discovered this neck condition during their pre-draft evaluations, it could have changed the landscape completely. Whether it was cutting corners or restrictions preventing the proper medical assessments from taking place is debatable. Washington might not have even cared if it came up, such was their conviction in the pass-rushing phenom.

Underlying medical conditions are red flags pre-draft. Stocks can fall significantly as a result. Young had the talent and promise to compensate for almost anything. But the cat is now firmly out of the bag.

This is probably just a case of terrible timing and worse luck from the Commanders' perspective. They weren't to know given how hard it was to get proper reports at the time. Young and his representatives weren't exactly going to let teams know if they were aware - something that could have lost him a substantial amount financially.

It only adds to the case of what might have been with Young. His career flamed out quickly in DC thanks to a series of ailments. Looking at the neck issue, they were fortunate to get a third-round compensatory pick in return when the time came to cut ties completely.

Nobody will wish anything but the best for Young moving forward. Some good fortune is long overdue, even if the Commanders won't benefit whatsoever.