Chase Young entered the NFL with high expectations as the top defensive player selected in the 2020 draft. The Washington edge rusher lived up to them as a rookie.
Young was the clear choice for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, which was announced Saturday night during NFL Honors.
Young took 42 1/2 votes with Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn a distant second at 4 1/2 and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen getting two votes and Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. getting a single tally.
A groin injury hampered his early season production, but once healthy, Young was a wrecking ball. In 15 regular-season games, Young compiled 7.5 sacks (tops among rookies), 44 tackles, 12 QB hits, 10 tackles for loss, four passes defended, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one TD scored.
Young was a clear difference-maker on a Washington defense that carried the club to an NFC East title at 7-9. Washington generated a 30.3 pressure rate with Young on the field this season. Without the rookie on the field, that pressure rate dropped to 24.6, per Next Gen Stats.
It wasn't just the sacks and pressures that separated him from every other DROY candidate. There were the big, game-swinging plays Young made down the stretch to propel his team to the postseason. In a huge Week 14, Young practically willed Washington to a win over San Francisco, compiling six tackles, a sack, two QB hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a TD that changed the complexion of the game. That win drove Washington to the top of the division.
The Week 17 NFC East clincher versus Philly was another commanding performance by the rookie who earned a sack, three QB hits, and a fumble recovery.
Perhaps more impressive than Young's rookie season is how much room there is still for the game-wrecker to grow. His predecessors at Ohio State, Joey and Nick Bosa (also DROY winners) entered the NFL as more polished pass rushers than Young. The 2020 DROY is on that same path, and as he hones his craft will be a dominant force off the edge for a stout Washington defense.
Young is the fourth Ohio State player in the past five years to take home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award (Nick Bosa, Marshon Lattimore, Joey Bosa). Perhaps OSU should rebrand itself as DROYU.