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Safe pick: Analyst says OSU’s Chase Young would be top 3 pick in any of last 5 drafts

Since 1999, 51 pass rushers (3-4 OLBs or 4-3 DEs) have been drafted. Of that total, 25 have gone to at least one Pro Bowl.

In other words, if you draft a pass rusher in the top half of the first round, you have a 50-50 chance of landing a future Pro Bowl player.

Not bad odds, but does that make them a safe pick? Not necessarily, unless you’re talking about “generational talents” – which is exactly how many draft analysts describe Ohio State’s Chase Young.

Defense & Fumbles Table
Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2011 South Carolina SEC FR DL 13 17 19 36 12.0 8.0 0 0 0 1 0 5
*2012 South Carolina SEC SO DL 40 14 54 23.5 13.0 2 1 2 0 3
*2013 South Carolina SEC JR DE 11 28 11 39 11.5 3.0 0 0 0 4 0 1
Career South Carolina 85 44 129 47.0 24.0 0 0 0 7 1 2 0 9

Most of the pass rushers drafted in the top-5 over the past 10 years have had reasonable success, but not all of them were considered “generational talents” at the time. Khalil Mack (No. 5 pick in 2014) and Bradley Chubb (No. 5 pick in 2018) are two examples: Pro Bowl players who were top 5 picks but not considered “generational” at the time they were drafted.

Instead, the better player comparisons for Young are as follows:

  • Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, 2nd overall pick of 2019 draft
  • Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, 1st overall pick of 2017 draft
  • Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, 3rd overall pick of the 2016 draft
  • South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, 1st overall pick of the 2014 draft
  • Texas A&M’s Von Miller, 2nd overall pick of the 2011 draft


Those five players all received the same type of “generational”-type of hype that Young is receiving now.

“Take a look at his college production, specifically tackle for a loss production per game in his best collegiate season,” said NFL draft analyst Marcus Mosher of USA Today. “Over the years, tackle for a loss production combined with a baseline of athleticism has proven to be the most predictive way to judge a pass rushers’ likelihood of success.

“As you can see, he compares very well to players like Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney.”

Generally speaking, the higher an Edge rusher is drafted, the safer the pick. Combining that with the fact Young is one of the highest-rated pass rushers in 10-plus years is what makes him one of the safest – if not the safest – picks in the 2020 NFL draft.

“It’s difficult to say that he is leaps and bounds better than the players listed above, but he is still in the same tier,” Mosher said. “Young would be a top-2 or 3 pick in every single draft class over the last five years and is one of the safest prospects we’ve seen in years due to his athleticism and production at Ohio State.

“I expect him to make a significant impact in 2020, no matter what team he lands on.”


Jake Rigdon (jake@sydwriting.com) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.

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