The No. 1 player on this list led Ohio State in sacks and tackles for loss last season as a sophomore and begins his junior season as a serious candidate to be the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
No. 1 — Chase Young, Junior Defensive End
Chase Young came to Ohio State from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland where he was a 5-star prospect in the 2017 recruiting class.
Ranked the No. 7 player overall, Young chose the Buckeyes over offers from every school with scholarship capabilities and arrived at Ohio State with Bosa-like expectations.
As a freshman, he played where he could, but was behind four future NFL defensive linemen in Jalyn Holmes, Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, and Nick Bosa.
Still, because of the number of blowouts early in the season, Young got his feet more than wet as a true freshman. Following the season, he said his goal for 2018 was 10.5 sacks.
Then last year as a sophomore, he hit that 10.5 mark, which was tied for the Big Ten lead. (The stats below say 9.5 sacks, but that is incorrect.)
Young earned Second-Team All-Big Ten accolades from the conference coaches. He was also named Preseason All-American by The Sporting News earlier in the month.
What He Does Well
Chase Young commands attention like few defensive ends in the nation and he plays his best in big games.
Against Penn State, Michigan, Northwestern, and Washington, Young finished with eight tackles for loss and six sacks. He also knocked down a pair of passes against Penn State.
Young is a tremendous disruptor, who spent much of last season working on two sore ankles. As he got healthy towards the second half of the season, he was able to get to the ball more. That includes the Maryland win, where he had two sacks and a forced fumble.
At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Young is big and powerful, but is plenty athletic enough to turn a corner and chase down a quarterback or running back. He can also overpower tackles with a bull rush and collapse his side of the line of scrimmage.
Chase Young In 2019
The Ohio State defensive line is moving to a more aggressive north-south approach this season, which should only help Young. Having two healthy ankles will help quite a bit as well.
With an increase in depth this year, Young’s reps might be reduced from a year ago. Even with a reduction in opportunities, however, his production could improve simply because he’ll be fresher and healthier than he was in 2018.
Don’t expect opposing offenses to take him lightly, which means life will be made difficult for him this year. He has been preparing since last season ended to be ready for what is to come this year.
There is no reason why he can’t following in the All-American footsteps of both Joey and Nick Bosa this season.
What They Are Saying
“When you get to the level he’s at, he’s got to be a really great technician. The athleticism takes over and now his tool box, his pass rush, his skill set, his hands, those are the things that separate him. Those are the things we’re working on. It’s the little things that’s going to continue to improve.” — Defensive line coach Larry Johnson on where he wants to see Chase Young improve this season.
“I think he had an amazing year last year. This year he’s turned into more of a leader. He’s more vocal. He’s more talkative to our defense, which makes me proud of him. I think he’s could have an outstanding year.” — What did defensive end Jonathon Cooper see from Chase Young in the spring.
“Last year, I had a pretty good season but I think I can have a better season. That’s what I’m trying to work on this spring. Nick, he sends me texts every day, he still looks at my film, I still send him film and things like that and he tell me what I can work on to try to reach my potential. So I’m just definitely trying to refine my technique, hands, hips, catching lineman’s’ hands, throwing them, stuff like that. So I’m just trying to refine my technique so I can have a better season next year.” — Chase Young on his 2018 season.