Over the last year, there has been plenty of debate over which Ohio State pass rusher was better: Nick Bosa or Chase Young. Heck, some people even went further back to throw Joey Bosa in the mix; it's annoying how rich the Buckeyes have been with pass rushers over the last five years.
Nick Bosa went No. 2 in the 2019 NFL Draft to San Francisco behind quarterback Kyler Murray. Young's situation was the same; he was the first defensive player taken in the 2020 draft by Washington behind quarterback Joe Burrow, the first-overall selection.
In terms of how the NFL valued Bosa and Young, it’s an even split. Now that both will be playing at the next level, the question is how impactful will they be compared to one another.
Nick Bosa looked nearly unblockable at times as a rookie. He finished the season with nine sacks in 16 games with 14 starts. He was also a key piece to the 49ers’ Super Bowl run.
Can Young duplicate or surpass that in his first year in Washington?
Let's first look at each player's situations.
Nick Bosa came into the league and was thrown into a stacked defensive line. Right away he joined DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas. Though it was a crowded line, Nick Bosa did have a contributing spot as an edge rusher. He ended up playing 777 defensive snaps in 2019; it was the second-most behind Buckner and one more snap than Armstead. Nick Bosa was one of three emphasized defensive linemen who played at least 75% of the team's snaps. That's a heavy load for a rookie and lends itself to the high sack output.
The question with Young isn't of talent but more so of whether or not he will get the same snap count that would allow him to rack up similar, if not better, numbers.
Young is entering the league with an already talented line as well. This is both a blessing and a curse. Young cannot be double-teamed all the time since the offensive will also have to worry about pass rushers like Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan, not to mention the dominant forces of Jonathan Allen and Da'Ron Payne in the middle clogging up space and blockers. But now there are more players at the edge spot.
Washington’s top pass-rush presence comes from Kerrigan and Sweat. Last season, Kerrigan saw 624 snaps on defense and Sweat saw 724. Those are the snaps Young would have to eat into to get on the field. There will certainly be times where all three are utilized, only if Washington really emphasizes the game plan with that as the focus. Young will certainly get his snaps, but it likely won't be 75% like it was for Nick Bosa.
After the draft, coach Ron Rivera already had a rough plan for Young’s potential usage.
“You have to be realistic about that and know that there are certain times and situations where you’ve got to rotate him out,” Rivera said via Redskins.com. “So, what we’d like to do is get him out there, get him going, see where he’s going to fit and then from that point use him, but use him the right way.”
Betting lines have Young’s output at 8.5 sacks. It would put him on par with the kind of impact Nick Bosa had, and possibly even more impressive due to him also having to get sacks in a rotation with Sweat and Kerrigan.
Barring Young blowing them away right off the bat, I'd bet the under but just slightly; Young could rack up around seven or eight sacks.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who will be orchestrating Young’s usage, gave about as high of praise as anyone can for a rookie addition.
"The best toolbox I've ever seen coming out of the draft," Del Rio said. "I haven't seen a guy come out with that many tools. I've seen talented players come out, but not with a complete toolbox like he has."