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Ron Rivera was very transparent when he took the Washington Redskins head coaching job that his vision priority is to build a winning organization. To fulfill that goal, you have to draft winners.
That is the move Rivera and Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith made in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft. With the No. 2 overall pick, the Redskins drafted the hometown product Chase Young, Ohio State defensive end from Hyattsville, MD.
“It means everything [getting drafted],” Young said. “If you think about it, I’ve been working my whole life for that moment, for that call on the phone. Just to be here right now, it’s crazy. I’m definitely very grateful for this opportunity and just ready to get to work.”
Young was arguably the best defensive player in the Draft. On one hand, he is a monster on the field who wreaks havoc on quarterbacks. Young played in 38 games at Ohio State from 2017-19 and recorded 99 tackles (69 solo), 42.5 tackles for loss, 30.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and eight passes defensed.
On the other hand, he is a laid-back, disciplined young man who has a hunger to get better. The combination of athletic skills and a positive mentality are characteristics Rivera will expect from his entire team. That’s exactly why drafting Young represents the future of the Redskins franchise.
“He’s an easy going, soft-spoken young man but then you watch him on tape and you see the energy level in which he plays with, you see the desire, the drive, the push,” Rivera said. “Then, you sit down and talk to him about those things and watch his eyes light up when he talks about being on the field, so there were a lot of positives.”
Rivera mentioned several times throughout the NFL Draft that he was looking for guys who could make an immediate impact. Young will immediately improve a defensive front that already has Da’Rron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat.
“I believe one thing that will happen more so than anything else, we’ve transformed our front to a 4-3, 4-0 front, it gives us a set of four rushers,” Rivera explained. “I think there’s an impact getting to the quarterback has on the other rushers – the linebackers and the secondary. And if we can create that type of immediate disruption, it’s going to help the back seven. And I think, again, if we can get to that point, create the takeaways, create the three-and-outs, it’s going to help the offense.”
“So, to me, when you draft a guy like that, that’s what you’re trying to do,” Rivera continued. “You’re trying to impact the team. I’ve been involved with the first pick, and now I’m involved with the second pick. In both cases, I believe we’ve taken the guy that will impact not just his position group, not just the linebackers, not just the [defensive backs], but I think the entire football team. That’s why we did what we did.”
Young’s selection marks the fourth straight year in which the Redskins have selected a defensive player with a first-round pick in the Draft joining Montez Sweat (No. 26 overall in 2019), Jonathan Allen (No. 17 overall in 2017) and Da’Ron Payne (No. 13 overall in 2018). This is the first time in team history the Redskins selected defensive players with a first-round pick selection in four consecutive Drafts.
“I feel like we’re definitely going to have a great group on the defensive line full of first rounders, Young explained. “I know those guys are already prepared to get after it. Me just coming in, I’m going to be a sponge and definitely just work my hardest to be a guy who can make an impact out of that group.”
Now that the Draft is over, the real work begins. However, Young is up for the challenge.
“I’m going to definitely try to go and watch some film is one thing I can let you know,” Young said. “Everyday I’m just working. My next step is just getting in touch with my teammates, getting in touch with my coaches just to see what I can learn right now. Just know that I’m going to be the most complete player I can be throughout this whole process.”