Chase Young has been grouped among the best players in the NFL heading into the 2021 season.
Young, last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year, has been ranked No. 61 on the NFL's annual Top 100 Players list. And judging by how much praise he got from his teammates and opponents, they expect him to take his game to another level in his second season.
"Man, that boy is gonna be a superstar," said Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham. "He's looking like a monster out there."
Young did exactly what head coach Ron Rivera expected him to do when Washington drafted him No. 2 overall. He breezed past experienced offensive tackles for sacks, made run-stopping tackles at the goal line and created turnovers, which led to Pro Football Focus giving him the highest rookie grade in 2020.
Most of Young's best plays came in the second half of the season, when he accumulated 4.0 sacks, 24 tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown against the 49ers. Terry McLaurin, Young's teammate at Ohio State, already knew the talent that Young possessed, but the 47-yard return in San Francisco made him realize how impressive Young was playing on a weekly basis.
"I've known him since Ohio State, so nothing really shocked me up until that point," McLaurin said. "That was crazy. He's just scratching the surface. You know he's gonna have a chance to be a Defensive Player of the Year one day."
"Nightmare" was the word 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams used to describe Young because of how advanced he already has become in his development. One of the best examples of that came in the season finale against the Eagles, when Young blew up a read option play and took down Jalen Hurts for a loss.
"I knew you were pullin' it," Young told Hurts after the game. Hurts responded by saying, "Well, you're athletic, so you can make that play."
Los Angeles Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth, a four-time Pro Bowler who has been in the league for 15 years, has matched up against some of the best edge rushers the NFL has ever seen. For the past four seasons, he's had a firsthand look at how Aaron Donald prepares himself for games. After squaring off against Young in Week 5, Whitworth says he has "all the abilities to thrive."
"You look at an Aaron Donald, you look at a Khalil Mack, in the situations of games where they're just needed to make a play, they go do something special," Whitworth explained. "I think he's got the ability and the talent that he'll be a guy like that very soon."
Williams said he sees "a Hall of Fame player just unfolding before our eyes." Young has a ways to go before that happens, but everyone seems to agree with Williams' other comment:
"He's one of those transcendent talents that comes around every blue moon."