Despite opportunities to trade down in the draft order, the Washington Redskins decided to take former Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It was the right move, because the Redskins now have the best defensive line in the NFL -- and no, that's not an exaggeration.
Young was. In three seasons at Ohio State, he recorded 40.5 tackles for loss and 30.5 sacks -- which ranks second in program history. He was unanimously named to the 2019 All-Big Ten team and All-American team. Young is someone who can make an immediate impact on this defense, and he joins a unit that already possesses several stars.
Opposite of him figures to be second-year defensive end Montez Sweat -- who the Redskins actually traded back into the first round for last year. Sweat recorded only 50 combined tackles, seven sacks and two passes defensed in 2019, but was playing more from the outside linebacker spot. The Redskins ran a 3-4 defense last season, but are switching over to a 4-3 scheme with Ron Rivera now in town. Sweat played in a 4-3 during his two seasons at Mississippi State, and recorded 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. In his senior season, he was a First-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC. Like Young, Sweat is a natural 4-3 defensive end and should have a long, successful career in the NFL.
At the defensive tackle position, the Redskins figure to have two former Alabama stars that have already proven their worth. Jonathan Allen was taken with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he has recorded 139 combined tackles and 15 sacks in 36 career games. The next season, the Redskins took another Alabama product in Daron Payne with the No. 13 overall pick. In 31 career games, he has recorded 112 combined tackles and seven sacks.
Four players who were all first-round picks will start on Washington's defensive line -- and that's not all. The Redskins also have defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis -- who led the team with 8.5 sacks last season -- as well as Ryan Kerrigan. The four-time Pro Bowler found success as a pass rusher in a 3-4 scheme, but is versatile enough to serve as a defensive end if that's what Rivera wants.
With the obvious talent the Redskins possess on the defensive line and the fact that several players will be playing their true positions in a more comfortable scheme, it's clear the Redskins should have the best defensive front in the NFL. That alone will not be enough to carry them to the postseason, however. Rivera still has some work to do to improve from the 3-13 campaign Washington just wrapped up -- but you know how the old saying goes, the game of football is won or lost in the trenches.