NFL

NFL Draft: Joe Theismann Says It’s a Big Mistake If the Redskins Don’t Pick Chase Young

Chase Young should be the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Then again, that pick belongs to the Washington Redskins—an organization that once again hit the reset button this offseason. By bringing in former Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, the Redskins already made one solid step in the right direction.

But as we’ve learned with Dan Snyder over the years, anything is possible. If he’s smart, he’ll listen to one of the team’s iconic players and make the easy choice: draft Chase Young.

Chase Young became top NFL draft prospect at Ohio State

If you could draw up an NFL defensive end, you’d end up with Chase Young. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, he has the ideal frame to wreck havoc on the edge. His first-step quickness, advanced hand usage and all-out effort helped him become the best defensive player in the country over the last three years.

The Maryland native signed with Ohio State as a consensus five-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the state. Even though he had tantalizing physical gifts, Young spent his freshman year as a rotational piece of a stacked defensive line. The 2017 Buckeyes squad featured Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard at defensive end, so there was little chance Young would knock his future NFL teammates off their starting spots.

Once Hubbard departed for the NFL, Young immediately slotted in and went to work. In 13 games, he recorded 10.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. The Buckeyes went 13-1 and finished third in the final AP poll. Last year, the pass-rushing maven elevated his game to legendary standards. Despite facing double-teams, Young broke the school record with 16.5 sacks. Considering both Bosa brothers came from that program, that’s a ridiculous feat.

Though Ohio State came up short in its national title quest, Young took home plenty of hardware. The unanimous All-American won the Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Most impressively, he became just the ninth defensive player since 1982 to become a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Redskins defense needs talent infusion

It shouldn’t take convincing to make Chase Young the second pick of the NFL draft, but the Redskins don’t exactly do things by the book. The team has invested resources into its front seven, but the results have yet to show. Veteran Ryan Kerrigan posted double-digit sacks in three straight seasons before falling to a career-low 5.5 in 2019. He’ll be 32 this season and may not have much left in the tank.

Washington did draft an edge rusher last year by trading back into the first round to select Montez Sweat. The long-limbed pass-rusher recorded seven sacks and 13 quarterback hits as a rookie. Pro Football Focus gave Sweat an overall grade of 60.2, which is below average.

The Redskins do have a pair of former first-round picks up front in Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Neither projects as a top-10 interior pass-rusher. By pairing Young and Sweat, Washington would have a dynamic edge-rushing duo that could dominate for years to come. Of course, that won’t matter if Snyder and the front office can’t get on the same page ahead of the virtual NFL draft.

Washington legend believes Young is a no-brainer selection

Still need convincing that Chase Young should be the Redskins’ top NFL draft pick? Even one of the franchise’s most legendary players is pounding the table for the talented defender. Joe Theismann has been adamant that Young should be the pick, and he already warned that it would be a mistake for the Redskins to pass over the nearly-perfect prospect:

“Chase Young to me fits right in for what the Redskins want to do defensively,” Theismann said. “You’ve got Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, [Montez] Sweat last year. Four young football players. Now, you bring in Chase Young as an impact defensive end, and that’s a formidable front four for a while.”

Even as a former quarterback, Theismann isn’t a fan of making Tua Tagovailoa the Redskins’ top NFL draft pick. That makes sense considering the Alabama star’s complicated medical situation.

“Everyone is talking about the possibility of Tua [Tagovailoa] being there at No. 2 for the Redskins to take,” he said. “With Tua, you just don’t know what you have. You have ankle problems. You have a hip you haven’t really had the chance to look at thoroughly enough as he continues to rehab and get better. He’s had other shoulder issues. So it’s an unknown entity.”

If Chase Young isn’t the pick at No. 2 overall, the Redskins will be making a massive mistake. Just take Joe’s word for it.