Defensive end, Ohio State Buckeyes
40 time: 4.70e
Young had to wait his turn on a loaded Ohio State roster, but he was productive in a rotational role in 2017, collecting 3.5 sacks and six tackles for loss in 12 games. He broke out as a sophomore starter, piling up 10.5 sacks and 15.5 TFLs. Despite facing additional attention from opposing offenses last season, Young erupted for 16.5 sacks, 21 TFLs and seven forced fumbles despite missing two games due to an NCAA suspension for accepting a loan. He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defender and had a legitimate case for the Heisman Trophy if not for Joe Burrow’s transcendent season.
Young sat out the NFL Scouting Combine, letting his sterling resume speak for itself.
Young is about as complete of a college prospect as you’ll find. He has prototypical tools, with a big, sculpted frame, long arms and outstanding athleticism. His first-step quickness is deadly, and he moves with incredible speed and fluidity for a man of his size, making him extremely slippery to block. He can bend and turn the corner at an elite level and has the lateral quickness to redirect or spin inside when tackles overset outside. Young also has terrific power in his game and is a high-level technician, showing great understanding of hand usage, leverage and counters, even further weaponizing his tremendous physical skills. For all of his production as a pass rusher, he also has been stellar against the run, using power, length and proper hand leverage to fight off blocks, or explosiveness to penetrate and engulf ball carriers for losses. His numbers are especially impressive considering he saw repeated double and triple teams in his final season, and his effort is off the charts.
Young can get a bit too high at times when coming out of his stance, allowing offensive linemen to drive him off the ball in the run game or land squarer punches in protection. While an advanced technician, he’s probably still a half-step below Joey and Nick Bosa in that regard coming out of Ohio State. He gets overeager at times, jumping offsides while trying to time the snap, though he’s improved in that area. While he could play in any scheme, he should be moving forward as much as possible, making him fit best in a 4-3 defense rather than a 3-4.
Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals — Perennially underappreciated since being shipped from New England to Arizona, Jones might be the NFL’s most consistent, well-rounded edge rusher, with an outstanding combination of size, length, power and athleticism. Young brings a similar skill set to the table but is probably even more explosive as an edge bender. If looking for an even loftier comparison, Julius Peppers comes to mind as a productive, physical freak who was drafted second overall. Ultimately, Young has the talent and arsenal of moves to be an upper-tier pass rusher from Day 1.
Projection: First Round