Turn the clocks back to the 2002 NFL Draft, when Jack Del Rio was part of the defensive staff in Carolina that took Julius Peppers with the second overall pick. No matter where Del Rio has been, he’s been a stalwart defensive-minded coach that knows how to get his defenses working at a high level, and sometimes an elite level. He’s seemingly always had a premier pass rusher, as well, including Von Miller during his time in Denver and Khalil Mack in Oakland.
We now move to present day, where Jack Del Rio is the new defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. It’s his turn to try and turn the Redskins into an elite defense, and he’s got an opportunity to build that defense around the best player in the 2020 NFL Draft, Chase Young. Oddly enough, they’ll be using the second overall pick to tab Young as their edge rusher, thanks to Cincinnati nearly certainly selecting Joe Burrow. If the Redskins trade back or take another player not named Chase Young, it would be one of the more shocking moments in draft history.
It’s no secret that Chase Young has been the best player in college football. In fact, it goes all the way back to his high school days at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland. According to 24/7 Sports, he was a 5-star recruit and was the seventh-best player in the country. Clearly, he’s been a dominant player on just about any football field he walks on. None of that is going to change as moves on to the NFL. The reason for that isn’t just his 6’5″ and 265-pound frame or his 16.5 sack total from the 2019 season. In fact, it’s pretty simple — Chase Young has the most premier pass rush plan we’ve seen for an edge rusher in quite some time, possibly ever. Let’s jump into some film and see why he’s just so dominant on the gridiron.
Explosive First Step Followed by the Rip Move
Every football game you watch, there will be some type of defensive lineman trying to jump the snap count. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. For Chase Young, his explosive first step gives him the advantage on just about every offensive tackle he faces. Add in his plethora of pass rush moves, and what you see is what you get.
During the 2019 season, Chase Young feasted on the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ offensive line. No matter where he was aligned, he was finding ways to generate pressures or sacks on the quarterback. The play above is a perfect example of his explosiveness off the snap and then his ability to speed rush towards the right tackle and follow through with an effective rip move. This type of pass rush is textbook, and it’s what will help make him so effective in the NFL.
Double Swipe Move
One of my favorite pass rush moves is the double swipe move. Learning the move myself from watching Shawn Merriman, it’s clear that plenty of edge rushers have implemented this move into their arsenal. Chase Young is no different, and it’s one of his most efficient moves when rushing the passer.
On the play above, you can see Chase Young rushing as the left end. As the right tackle gets a slight jump on him from the snap, Young times his double swipe move perfectly. Once he times his swipe move, he follows through with a rip move and then bends toward the quarterback. Despite being a step or two late, he still shows great effort at trying to strip the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. This type of disruption on this type of pass rush move is on constant display from him.
Counter Inside with Swim Move
There’s not an edge rusher in the 2020 NFL Draft class that can change the direction of his path and generate more pressure than Chase Young. So many times, he’ll start his initial pass rush on the outside shoulder but then throttle down and get inside leverage on an offensive lineman. This normally leads to some type of hand swipe, but more commonly, the swim move or club-over. This helped him generate 61 quarterback pressures on the 2019 season, which was fourth-best in college football (per Sports Info Solutions).
Like I’ve mentioned, Chase Young was all over the field against Nebraska. On the play above, his initial path of his pass rush is to split the difference between the right tackle and the tight end that releases up field on his route. Once he gets to the third step of his rush towards the outside, he throttles down and explodes off his outside foot (left foot) and gets inside on the right tackle. As the right tackle opens his hips towards the outside, the opening is generated and Young is able to quickly swim or club-over and pressure the quarterback. As the quarterback gets out of the pocket and attempts a throw on the run, it’s intercepted by Jeffrey Okudah. This type of pressure is going to lead to plenty of turnovers down the road.
Once again, Chase Young attempts the exact same move against Nebraska. This angle gives a better look at how quickly his hands are when throttling down but also how effective he is when clubbing the inside arm of the right tackle and then swimming over to get into the face of the quarterback. This forces the quarterback to hold the ball for longer than he wants, and ultimately, the Buckeyes are able to bring him down for another sack. This all starts because of how Chase Young forces the quarterback to evade the pocket.
Lastly, Chase Young counters back inside, and this time he’s able to get the sack. The only way I can compare this type of pass rush from him is how wide receivers are able to win with great footwork. Much like how a wide receiver can freeze a defensive back, Young is constantly getting offensive linemen to stop dead in their tracks and second-guess their pass set. Regardless of how you want to justify it, the numbers don’t lie for the elite edge rusher from Ohio State. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he ended up with a pass rush grade of 96.5 for the 2019 season.
Being the Looper with the Swim Move
Just to put the cherry on top, you can also use Young as the looper on the T-E line stunt. For those that don’t know, this is a line stunt where the defensive tackle penetrates toward the offensive tackle and normally the offensive guard follows the defensive tackle. With that, the defensive end becomes the looper by looping inside around the penetrator and gets an opening for an inside rush. Even if a team does this once or twice a game with Young, it can lead to positive results for the defense.
For example, you can see on the play above, where Young loops around the defensive tackle that’s penetrating towards the offensive tackle. Young hits the right guard with a swim move and then brings the quarterback down for the sack.
Without question, Chase Young is one of the best defensive players I’ve scouted in my time of covering the draft. As you can see, he’s got incredible hand usage, explosiveness, and length. With that combination and the pass rush plan that he’s developed in his years at Ohio State, it’s clear that he’s going to come into the NFL, make an immediate impact, and be a cornerstone player for whichever franchise drafts him.