Washington was already relatively deep with pass-rush talent, and then used the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Chase Young.
Now, new coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio have to figure out how to use them all.
Via Ethan Cadeaux of NBCSportsWashington.com, Del Rio said Monday that it was at once a blessing and a curse, specifically as it pertains to veteran Ryan Kerrigan, saying it was both “good” and “not so comfortable.”
“You’re fired up for having all of these guys, but then they can’t all go on the field at the same time,” Del Rio said on a Zoom call with local media on Thursday. “So that is part of it, like being able to deal with that aspect of it, having guys understand, ‘Hey, you’re not going to play all the time.’ Or, ‘You’re not the starter.'”
The 31-year-old Kerrigan has 90.0 sacks in nine seasons, and he’s entering the final year of his contract. Since the team has drafted defensive linemen with first-round picks each of the last four years, he has a lot of company as they try to plan their pass-rush.
To Del Rio, that creates “competition,” and that can only help.
“It is all about competition and that is really what the league is all about,” Del Rio said. “You have to perform. It is a performance-based business. You have to perform, and those who perform the best play the most. . . .
“It is good to have good players. We have good players in our front, guys that were well thought of coming out of the draft and they were taken high and we should expect them to be really good players for us, and be a really solid foundation for us to build around.”
It’s reasonable to think they’ll lean toward the younger options such as Young and Montez Sweat, as they’ll likely be longer-term parts of Rivera and Del Rio’s plan.