After talking about the best quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight-ends and offensive linemen, we now switch to the defensive side of the ball. First off, we have the edge rushers, meaning 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers primarily.
We basically have a 1A and 1B at the top and a bunch of talented guys who could creep into the top five as the year goes along. As I have said with all the offensive guys, I am judging them as college players (not necessarily NFL prospects) based on the tape they have put out to this point and the potential I see for 2019.
So check back later on to read up on my top interior defensive linemen, off-ball linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties.
#1 Chase Young, Ohio State
This guy stepped in as a sophomore once Nick Bosa decided to focus on his draft preparation and eventually being drafted number two overall by the 49ers.
The 6’5”, 265 pounds immediately earned first-team All-Big Ten honors due to 76 total pressures, 14.5 tackles for loss and five passes knocked down at the line. Young is a speed rusher first, who gets off the ball with some explosion and has the ankle flexibility to turn the corner, which he combines with different hand-swipes to avoid contact.
He rushes with outstanding effort and hunts down scrambling quarterbacks on several occasions. While it might not always lead to sacks, he influences the play and how the ball comes out.
I want to see him do a better job of playing with extension in the run game to read through the blocker and I would like to see him work on turning a shorter corner by converting speed to power late.
Young will be the most feared defender on that Buckeye defense and he will probably see more chips and slides coming his way this season.