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.
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:
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 3, 2020
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.