NFL draft: Race for Chase Young could come down to rival teams

The Race for Chase Young is now on.

Barring some unforeseen development, the Ohio State pass rusher will be our highest-graded prospect for the 2020 NFL draft. He could end up our highest-graded player to come out in recent years.

In another dominant performance, his first game back from the NCAA’s two-game suspension, Young added three sacks against Penn State, bringing his total to 16.5 for the season over nine games. 

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No other player in college football had more than 14 sacks, and the next 14 players on the FBS sack-leaders list have played two more games than Young. Young’s six forced fumbles — he added two more Saturday — trail only one FBS player: Illinois’ Jake Hansen.

Yahoo’s Pete Thamel wrote Saturday that Young’s performance against the Nittany Lions should vault him into the Heisman Trophy’s invitations to New York.

Could Young end up back in New York in the NFL?

Ohio State's Chase Young (#2) dominated again vs. Penn State and could end up as a top-two pick in the 2020 NFL draft. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Ohio State's Chase Young (#2) dominated again vs. Penn State and could end up as a top-two pick in the 2020 NFL draft. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Giants losing at Chicago, the Jets thrashing the Raiders and the Redskins slipping by the Detroit Lions in Week 12 tilted the current 2020 NFL draft order. The Cincinnati Bengals, the last winless team in the NFL this season, now have a two-game cushion for the No. 1 overall pick with five weeks to go.

Can the Bengals afford to pass on a quarterback at No. 1? We know that Bengals’ director of personnel Duke Tobin already has seen at least one game in person of LSU QB Joe Burrow, the assumed frontrunner for the top draft pick. And with the possibility of Burrow landing at the Senior Bowl, possibly being coached there by the Bengals’ staff, that connection could be locked in by the end of January.

How the chase for Chase could shake out

Right now, the draft order for teams with three or fewer victories looks like this, with the teams’ records and opponents’ winning percentage for the remaining games:

1. Bengals (0-11, .473)

2. Giants (2-9, .400)

3. Dolphins (2-9, .382)

4. Redskins (2-9, .473)

5. Broncos (3-8, .500)

6. Falcons (3-8, .582)

7. Lions (3-7-1, .509)

8. Cardinals (3-7-1, .604)

Amazingly, the Jets are now suddenly in the No. 10 slot (behind the Jacksonville Jaguars even), and though the Jets have games remaining against the Dolphins and Bengals, it appears their chances of landing Young without making a big move up in the draft appear to be fading.

If you’re a Giants fan hoping to land Young with the second overall pick, you have to be worried about the tougher schedules that the Redskins, Broncos and Falcons have. The Giants have dropped seven straight games, but four of the past five have been one-score contests. The Redskins-Giants Week 16 contest at FedExField likely won’t fill many seats, but it could end up having massive draft ramifications.

And whichever team ended up in that No. 2 slot could end up taking not only the best overall prospect in the draft but also a game-changing pass rusher who could transform an NFL defense in time.

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