Over the last decade, most Defensive Rookie of the Year winners in the NFL were superstars right out of the gate. Ndamukong Suh. Von Miller. Luke Kuechly. Aaron Donald. The Bosa brothers. We don't have that this year, which makes the race for the honor as fascinating as it was in 2018 when Darius Leonard and Derwin James battled before the Colts linebacker won by nine votes.  

With more data than ever and All-22 film at our fingertips, voters for NFL awards should be able to separate team success from individual production for awards that are, you know, strictly meant for individuals. Does that always happen? No. We're not completely there yet. Tracking in the right direction though. 

I mention that because Chase Young, the uber-hyped prospect who went No. 2 overall, has pieced together a solid rookie campaign, and suddenly the Washington Football Team have won four straight after a 1-5 start and sit atop the NFC East. If the status quo is unchanged with Young and his team, naming him Defensive Rookie of the Year would be a cinch, and not many would bat an eye if took home the hardware. 

Young has 25 quarterback pressures on 340 pass-rushing snaps, good for a 7.4% pressure-creation rate. No, that's not particularly high, but it's the second-highest figure among rookies with at least 200 pass-rushing snaps this season. (That 7.4% ranks Young in 98th place among 136 qualifying defensive linemen and edge rushers.) His 13 hits on the quarterback are the most among all first-year players, and he only has one missed tackle compared to 35 tackles to date. No doubt, he's been good. But has he met the seemingly hyperbolic descriptions of him during the pre-draft process? No way. 

And when Jeremy Chinn, the Panthers ultra-versatile defender, is considered as a Defensive Rookie of the Year, the race gets captivating. He's on a 4-9 team at the bottom of the NFC South and was the last selection in the second round, so he's starting behind the 8 ball. And he's missed 17 tackles, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. From a production standpoint, that's the most glaring blemish on his rookie resume. 

Chinn leads all rookies with 94 tackles. He's further loaded the stat sheet with five pass breakups, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and a pair of return touchdowns. Chinn too has assumed significant responsibilities as part of Carolina's defense, incredibly impressive for someone who was playing FBS football at Southern Illinois just a year ago. 

He's played 299 snaps in the box, 191 as a slot corner, 21 as an outside cornerback, 188 as a free safety, and 74(!) on the defensive line. Chinn has been ubiquitous. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound freak athlete has 10 pressures on 53 pass-rushing snaps. That 18.9% pressure-creation rate is third among all rookie safeties and linebackers with at least 20 attempts at rushing the passer to date. 

There have been 32 receptions in Chinn's target area, but those connections have only averaged 8.3 yards, that pedestrian figure is tied for the ninth-lowest among 94 qualifying safeties.

Young will probably win the award. Because he's turned in a quality season and has name recognition galore. But should it be a formality at this point? [Kevin McCallister voice] I don't think so. If Chinn keeps the voting close -- or happens to spring an upset victory -- it'll be a watershed moment in the NFL awards sector of football media. 

(All advanced status courtesy of TruMedia unless otherwise noted)