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Jack Del Rio Believes Chase Young Has A 'Complete Toolbox' To Help The Redskins' Defense


Jack Del Rio has never seen a player quite like Chase Young.

Del Rio, who has been in the NFL for more than three decades, has played against some of the best players in league history. He has coached elite pass rushers like Julius Peppers, Von Miller and Khalil Mack, but none of them have started their professional careers with as much ability as Young.

"The best toolbox I've ever seen coming out of the draft," Del Rio said during the Redskins Virtual Draft Party. "I haven't seen a guy come out with that many tools. I've seen talented players come out, but not with a complete toolbox like he has."

It isn't hyperbole to say Del Rio is fired up about adding Young to the Redskins defense. He already had a plethora of first-round picks on the defensive line at his disposal, but now the unit has another player he already views as a premier pass rusher. And with the right game plan for how to use Young Del Rio can put those tools to good use.

Del Rio believes it makes sense to have edge rushers covering less and getting after quarterbacks more. That was his philosophy in switching the Redskins from a 3-4 to a 4-3 front, and the approach paid off for the previous first-round talents that played under his tutelage. Peppers, Miller and Mack all had some of their highest single-season sack totals with Del Rio as either their defensive coordinator or head coach.

That history indicates Young could have similar performances under Del Rio. No one on the Redskins' coaching staff has laid out exactly how they plan to use Young, but head coach Ron Rivera acknowledged there have been talks between Del Rio, defensive line coach Sam Mills and himself on how to get the most out of Young without overloading him.

"You have to be realistic about that and know that there are certain times and situations where you've got to rotate him out," Rivera told local media after Young was drafted. "So, what we'd like to do is get him out there, get him going, see where he's going to fit and then from that point use him, but use him the right way."

Because the Redskins have a luxury of talent on their defensive line, Rivera and Del Rio plan to rotate Young in and out of the lineup. So, if there are 70 defensive snaps in a game, he would likely be featured in 40-45 of those plays..

"Chase could be in there with one group of guys and rotate, and the next thing you know he's in with another group, but we're going to use him to be a dynamic player," Rivera said.

Of the three top 5 edge rushers Del Rio has worked with, Peppers is the player whose skillset is arguably the most similar to that of Young. Although Peppers entered the NFL one inch taller and 18 pounds heavier than Young, they both finished their college careers with 30.5 sacks and were drafted No. 2 overall. Peppers had more total tackles, but Young had eight forced fumbles compared to Peppers' five.

In the one season Peppers played under Del Rio, he had 36 tackles, an interception and 12 sacks -- the third-highest single-season total of his 17-year career -- which helped him win Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Many people have already made the comparison between Young and Peppers. Thomas Davis Sr., who played alongside Peppers with the Carolina Panthers, said the “physical stature, relentless effort and motor” Peppers exhibited is similar to Young. Young sees the comparison, too; in fact, he has spent his life modeling his skillset after Peppers.

"That was a guy that I always grew up watching," Young said. "When he was with the [Chicago] Bears, I watched him. My uncles always used to talk about Julius. My dad didn't have an NFL team, but he liked Julius Peppers, so I grew up always talking about and watching Julius Peppers."

Del Rio believes having players like Peppers, Miller and Mack can put pressure on offenses. Young is now in a position to perform a similar role with the Redskins, and Del Rio thinks that is going to help the entire defense.

"It all does work together," he said. "You have good coverage, and you have [a] good rush, they go hand in hand. When one is breaking down, it makes it hard for the other. If one is really dominating, it makes it easier for the other."

Del Rio has never been a big believer in the idea of potential. He prefers production and results. That said, he likes what he has seen out of Young. He has a unique premier pass rusher who is unlike any he's ever had, and the expectations for the pass rush will be high once Young is successfully integrated into the group.

"It comes down to being playmakers," Del Rio said. "We want to remove fear from our group, we want to make sure they understand where they belong, and then we want to go hunt."