As we approach the NFL Draft, we will likely see Ohio State Edge Rusher Chase Young drafted number two overall by the Washington Redskins barring anything crazy happening. Analysts rave about his athletic ability and being able to get to the Quarterback.
Over his career at Ohio State, he finished with 30.5 sacks in 34 games including 16.5 in 2019 where he led the NCAA. He is 6’5 265 lbs. of pure human wrecking ball. So how on Earth do I make a bet that Chase Young will be a bust?
First of all, let’s take the bet into context. When I say bust, I don’t know that he becomes the next Vernon Gholston. But, I can see him falling in the range of Keke Mingo to Vic Beasley. Basically, he will fall anywhere from irrelevant to spot rusher at best.
Mingo was drafted sixth overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2013 and has 10 sacks to his name.
Beasley was drafted eighth overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 and has 37.5 sacks to his name. His lone season (outlier) where he gave the price of admission for where he was drafted was during the Falcons Super Bowl run in 2016 finishing the regular season with 15.5 sacks. (28-3 never forget)
Before I dive into why I think he’s a bust, the terms of the bet. My buddy is sold one million percent on Chase Young being an absolute stud. He agreed to bet that Chase Young ends up having a better career than Saints’ Cam Jordan. Terms to be determined and here’s why…
Ironically, Jordan was just selected to the All-Decade Team. In 2030, we will know who exactly who won the bet if he is not selected.
The reason for Jordan being the centerpiece of the bet is he saw Jordan as the worst a franchise elite edge guy is. I believe that is a more than fair assessment of Cam. You are much likely much happier if JJ Watt, Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Chandler Jones and although premature, either Bosa brother than you are with Cam. Several of those guys are not technically just edge rushers as they have roles on the interior as well. That is not to say Jordan sucks, but he is the worst of the elite. That’s good company.
Being that I view his ceiling as similar to Vic Beasley, give me that bet.
Why Do I Think Chase Young Busts?
On the surface, he is an athletic freak of nature and he has the numbers in college to say otherwise. So why on Earth would I say he’s a bust?
He is a one trick pony who relies entirely too much on his athleticism. There aren’t many layers to his game in going after the QB, which is why Clemson and Michigan eliminated him from the equation during his best run. He recorded a sack in every other game he played in 2019 including his insane 5.0 sack performance against Wisconsin in their first match-up.
Upon watching his highlights from his career and 2019, there is one glaring hole.
Chase Young 2019 Highlights
Chase Young Career Highlights
The Glaring Hole In His Game
He didn’t have many moments of generating pressure inside the tackle. Nearly every sack or pressure generated on the QB came solely from his first step and exploding off the edge gaining an advantage on the outside.
Once you reach the NFL, you’re going to need more than one dominant move than just going full Nascar on the outside. Otherwise, NFL tackles will eat you alive and give you the outside. They will sit back and drive you out of the play completely.
It is the same principle as a pitcher in Major League Baseball, you better have 3-4 dominant pitches you can rely on. Otherwise, the hitters will figure you out and take the cover off the ball. Same idea as a pass rusher.
Nothing will change the fact he is an athletic freak, but I find it hard to be excited about a guy with one move when his primary job is to get pressures and sacks. I saw a handful of inside moves and the majority came on runs. There were also a handful of sacks and tackles for losses where he was the second or third to generate pressure or make contact.
Before writing this, I actually went and looked at his draft profile for the first time and here are what they pin as his strengths and weaknesses. Back in December, I had told the buddy I made the bet with that I thought he was over-hyping Young and I smelled bust. This isn’t some shock jock bullshit. It was everything I saw in a highlight video praising him. To my surprise, the strengths and weaknesses were right on par with what I saw. Overall, I agree with most of them. I think I just view the weakness as a bit more dire.
Consider this my Kevin Costner’s Sonny Weaver feeling on Bo Callahan from the movie Draft Day. Something feels off.
- Rare physical specimen with long, chiseled, pliable frame
- Staggering leaps in high-impact production over consecutive seasons
- Loose, fluid, agile, aggressive and explosive
- Rush pace quickened substantially from 2018
- Quick-twitch eruption out of his stance with first step
- Provides early response to dislodge and clear the punch
- Momentum/balance gives his rush extended life
- Turns torso and flips hips to climb around tackles
- Consistently targets QB’s throwing arm when attacking the pocket
- Power and size to play through blocker’s edge
- Operates with quick hands and rarely allows them to linger
- Speed and length create expansive play-making radius
- Low success rate for teams trying to run around him
- Once he sinks his hooks in, it’s over for the ball-carrier
- Long, lateral slide for sudden step-around as edge defender
- Heat-seeking missile with exceptional change-of-direction talent
As far as his strengths, these all play plenty into his athletic prowess. There was one play in particular on the second video where he misfired his initial pass rush going full steam ahead. He ended up changing direction and still managed a sack without much help from other defenders. You can’t coach players to be athletic freaks. Of course stuff like that makes you say HOLY SHIT!
The other strength I will highlight is his has a knack for finding the ball and attempting the strip. When you have a guy who comes off the edge and can consistently find the ball, that is a game changer. In many of highlights where Young is going toward the back of the opposing QB, that arm is gearing back and going for the ball attempting to create the turnover.
He absolutely dominated the blockers edge which I alluded to. His biggest strength is his biggest weakness because that is all he has. That brings us to those…
- Non-factor in the playoff loss to Clemson
- Field awareness and anticipation is below average
- Loses track of the football at the mesh point
- Gives some ground when setting the edge
- Could use better anchor drop in his lower half
- Rush plan heavily reliant upon athletic ability and traits
- Initial hands lack purpose and skill in pass rush
- Not very instinctive as a pass rusher
- Needs to create more half-man entry points as a rusher
- Telegraphs inside slide step counter
- Will need better go-to moves to become less predictable as a pro
The only weakness I disagree with is his field awareness and anticipation being below average. I think he has the right idea in run support as well as the screen game. But it boils down to him using his athleticism knowing he can get around a pursuing blocker.
There were several plays where he dropped 1-2 yards deeper than he probably should have on outlets, but the blocker wasn’t able to pick him up. Again, I don’t know how much of that is field awareness or understanding his athleticism and speed.
I find it hard to believe that all of a sudden he comes to the NFL and has other moves which we haven’t seen him ever use. Nothing on tape signifies he is anything but someone dominating with his athleticism. Will it be enough in the NFL? I just don’t see that. We have seen so many cases before of scouts being enamored with athletic freaks like the aforementioned Gholston, Aaron Curry, Troy Williamson or Darrius Heyward-Bey. The NFL is more intricate than just having athletic prowess.
I have been saying since December that I think he will be a bust. I am sticking to that.
If he ends up being Vic Beasley, I am still not entirely right about him being a “bust.” Yes, the production value wouldn’t be worth the spot picked. However, Vic Beasley should have a productive career.
If he ends being Keke Mingo, then I nailed it. He has been nothing but disappointing as a pro.
Either way, if you’re giving me the bet of all-decade player, I will take that all day.
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