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The Washington Football Team's stars continue to rack up national recognition.
Terry McLaurin, Chase Young and Brandon Scherff all appeared on ESPN's annual Top 100 players list heading into the 2021 season. Young, the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, was the highest-ranked player of the trio, coming in at No. 31. Four-time Pro Bowler Scherff ranked No. 70, while McLaurin made the list at No. 73.
As good as Young was during his rookie season, he's expected to take another jump in Year 2. He feels more comfortable working in Jack Del Rio’s 4-3 scheme and spent time working on minor details like his handwork this offseason. Judging by how he breezed by the Patriots' left tackle in the preseason opener to get to Cam Newton, the extra attention to detail is being put to good use.
And former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum has some high expectations for Young with a year under his belt. The way Tannenbaum sees it, Young could be "the second-best defensive player in the NFL behind Aaron Donald" this time next year.
"He is a long, explosive and disruptive pass-rusher coming off of a productive rookie year with a lot of talent around him," Tannenbaum said. "This sets him up perfectly to be a top-five player and the premier edge pass-rusher in the league."
Scherff, who was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2020, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. He had a 94.4% pass block win rate, which ranks 10th among his fellow guards. That number is even more impressive considering he had to briefly spend time on Injured Reserve.
"He truly is a very athletic player with his quickness and body control," said head coach Ron Rivera. "You don't see him miss an awful lot."
This is the second time Young and Scherff have appeared on a list that separates them from their peers. Both were members of NFL Network's annual "Top 100 Players of 2021," with Scherff making his first appearance at No. 98. Young was ranked higher at No. 51.
McLaurin was a noticeable absence from NFL Network's list after recording his first 1,000-yard season in 2020. McLaurin routinely went up against opponents' best defensive backs and either held his own or got the better of them on a weekly basis. Despite catching passes from four different quarterbacks, McLaurin increased his catch rate by nearly three percentage points.
McLaurin did manage to crack the list for ESPN, though, and the efforts he has made to further cement himself as one of the better wideouts in the league has continued to impress Rivera and his teammates.
"It is interesting because he is such a young player, and he has had two very successful seasons so far," Rivera said. "I couldn't tell you what he was like his first season, but last year he caught my attention immediately and he has done the same thing and has been more impressive."