In Week 17 of the 2019 season, Washington lost to the Giants in a game that had no bearing on the playoffs but had a huge impact on the future of the franchise.
Washington secured the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft as a result of that loss and used it on defensive end Chase Young. The ripple effects of that loss carried all the way to Week 17 of this season when what’s now known as the Washington Football Team beat the Eagles to win the NFC East.
Young had a sack, three quarterback hits, and a fumble recovery in a 20-14 win that wrapped up a rookie season befitting the volumes of hype that accompanied his move from Ohio State to the NFL.
Washington has used several first-round picks on defensive linemen in recent years. Young joins Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, and Da’Ron Payne to form a unit that should continue to make life difficult for offenses in future seasons. Given how disruptive Young has been this season, it looks like he’ll player that those offenses are going to fear the most.
Young finished the year with 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. He returned one of those fumbles for a touchdown in a 23-15 win over the 49ers that was part of the four-game winning streak that pushed Washington into first place in the division.
Safety Jeremy Chinn looks like a foundation piece for the defense the Panthers hope to build and Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen looked right at home in the starting lineup for a division winner on day one. Both players would make fine choices as the defensive rookie of the year, but Young’s playmaking and disruption up front is what led PFT to name him as our choice for that award.