WASHINGTON (AP) — Chase Young finished his junior season at Ohio State believing he had done what it takes to become a top pick in the NFL draft.
After months of buildup passed and trade talk went nowhere, the Washington Redskins took the fearsome pass-rusher with the second overall pick Thursday night. Young was drafted after the Cincinnati Bengals took Heisman Trophy-winning LSU quarterback Joe Burrow first overall, but the Washington, D.C. area native believes he is second to none.
“I feel like I’m the best player in this draft,” Young said. “What I bring to the table and how I prepare, I definitely believe I’ll make a pretty big impact on the field.”
Young was widely considered the best non-QB in the draft and could have the kind of impact on the Redskins that 2019 No. 2 pick and his former Ohio State teammate Nick Bosa did for the San Francisco 49ers. After leading the nation with 16 1/2 sacks and making 46 tackles last season to become a Heisman finalist, Young appears to have that potential.
The Redskins fielded calls in recent weeks from teams interested in trading up but wound up standing pat. New coach Ron Rivera isolated three draft prospects as immediate-impact players — Burrow, Young and one other — and didn’t believe it was worth giving up on the chance to take Young.
“I felt that Chase was the one guy that would really carry the load for us as far as that pick,” Rivera said. “For what we would love to do going forward, for us I most certainly do believe he was the best player.”
With deals hard to come by early in the first round, the Redskins watched as several potential trading partners interested in Trent Williams took offensive linemen in the first round, reducing the pool of destinations for the disgruntled left tackle.
“It’s something that we’ve been working through and we’ll continue to work through,” vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith said. “It could happen in five minutes. It could happen tomorrow. It might not happen in the next few days.”
The Redskins went with the best player available rather than addressing a major need. They already have Ryan Kerrigan and 2019 first-rounder Montez Sweat as part of their pass rush and spent 2017 and 2018 first-round picks on defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne.
“We’re definitely going to have a great D-line, full of first-rounders,” Young said.
The Redskins traded their second-round pick this year to move up to get Sweat, leaving them without a selection until the third round at No. 66. Dealing Williams could change that, and Washington has holes to fill at that position, cornerback, tight end and wide receiver.
“It’s just a matter of letting the board speak to you,” Smith said. “We have in our mind positions of focus and needs — if you want to call them needs — that we want to fulfill. … It really is best player available but also that fits a role and a need that we have.”
Washington went 3-13 in 2019, but Young should provide a major boost to a defense that ranked 29th in the league. He could quickly become a fan favorite for an organization that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005 — Young is from suburban Washington.
After taking the call from Rivera, Young went outside his Maryland home to address friends and supporters standing in the rain. Despite that support, he said he doesn’t consider playing for his hometown team a source of pressure.
“It just gives me a lot of motivation,” Young said.
The DeMatha Catholic High School product on Wednesday delivered meals to 300 nurses at Southern Maryland Hospital in Clinton, where he was born 21 years ago. He grew up in Upper Marlboro, 10 miles from his new home stadium.
Young also has a college connection to the two biggest pieces of the Redskins offense. He played with quarterback Dwayne Haskins and receiver Terry McLaurin at Ohio State in 2017 and 2018.
The Redskins could have made it three Alabama players in first round over the past four years by taking Tua Tagovailoa. But owner Dan Snyder had a hand in selecting Haskins 15th last year, and Rivera will give the second-year pro a chance to keep the starting QB job in a competition against Kyle Allen.
Rivera said considering a QB at No. 2 was a matter of “due diligence” but ultimately called it a formality to draft Young.
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed.
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