When the Washington Commanders took defensive end Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, they had incredibly high expectations for the youngster. So did everyone else.
Early on, Young lived up to his billing, posting 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, four passes defended and a defensive touchdown during his rookie campaign. As a result, Young was named Defensive Rookie of the Year and earned himself a trip to the Pro Bowl in the process.
Since then, however, things have not exactly gone smoothly for the Ohio State product.
After playing in 15 games in 2020, Young has appeared in a grand total of 13 contests since then. Midway through the 2021 campaign, Young tore his ACL, knocking him out for the remainder of that season. He then played in just three games in 2022 as a result.
To make matters worse, Young suffered a stinger in the Commanders’ first 2023 preseason game over the summer, which ultimately led to him missing Washington’s Week 1 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Young returned this past weekend, totaling three tackles and 1.5 sacks in the club’s victory over the Denver Broncos.
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera was very impressed with what he saw from Young on Sunday, saying that the pass rusher brought back memories of 2020.
“He did remind of a lot of things from his rookie year. … I thought he did show his explosiveness,” said Rivera, according to Ben Standig of The Athletic.
Well, Young will have to show it for more than just one week.
Prior to the 2023 campaign, Washington declined Chase Young’s fifth-year option, meaning that the 24-year-old is currently playing out the final year of his rookie contract.
The Commanders will look to get off to a 3-0 start when they host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.