Ohio State defensive end is likely to be the No. 2 pick and return to his home state of Maryland to play for the Washington Redskins

NFL homecoming appealing for Ohio State’s Chase Young

And between now and the NFL Draft in April, he is more worried about preparing for football than working out. 

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Those were the main takeaways from his 15 minutes meeting with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday.

“Me and my team decided that first day of camp when I step on the field, I want to be the best player I can be,” he said when asked why he would not take part in workouts at the combine. I don’t want to waste time trying to be a combine athlete. And when I step on the field I need to know I am putting my best foot forward being the best I can be.”

Young will do position drills at Ohio State’s Pro Day on March 25 in Columbus, but it sounds like the rest of his draft prep will consist of meeting with teams to get to know them and let them know more about him as a person.

While many will evaluate him, one is considered his most likely destination: The Washington Redskins.

They have the No. 2 pick in the draft behind the Cincinnati Bengals, who are expected to draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1.

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If Washington takes Young, that would mean a homecoming for a player who graduated from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md. The school is only a few miles from where the Redskins play their home games, FedEx Field in Landover.

“Going back up and playing in front of my hometown people definitely would be a blessing,” Young said. “Everybody who’s known me since I was young could come to a game and things like that. Right now I’m not even focused on who could draft me. I’m focused on being the best player, the best person I can be and impressing the coaches at the combine.”

Being drafted by the Redskins would also mean a reunion with former Ohio State teammates Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin.

“Me and Dwayne talk all the time,” Young said. “I’ve known Dwayne since high school. He definitely loves the organization. Obviously he wants me to come play with him. We’ll see how the whole thing turns out.”

The Redskins went 3-13 last season, firing head coach Jay Gruden midway through and replacing him with veteran Ron Rivera afterward.

Rivera has hired longtime NFL assistant Jack Del Rio to run a defense that ranked 27th in points and yards allowed last season and was 31st against the run.

Though he has historically run a 3-4 defense, Del Rio plans to switch the Redskins to a 4-3 look this season.

That would likely be a better fit for Young, but the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year said he is willing to do whatever a team asks of him.

“Everything across the board — 3-4 outside linebacker, 4-3 hand in the dirt, pass rushing from the 3-technique (tackle) — I believe I could do that also,” Young said.

Redskins president of player personnel Kyle Smith spoke highly of Young during his time meeting with reporters at the combine.

“I made school calls on a lot of these guys, him included,” Smith said. “I’ve seen him live, I’ve seen him in person, watched his tape, talked to the coaches, all the deal. I’ve done the whole background stuff and have heard great things about him.

“They talk highly of him there, but it’s a good draft now. There’s a lot of really good players that will be in consideration.”

Asked what stands out about Young, who logged a school single-season record 16.5 sacks last season and measured in at 6-foot-5, 264 pounds at the combine, Smith had a simple assessment.

“I think everything,” Smith said. “He’s got measurables. He’s got production. He plays hard. So those are all good qualities to have as a pass rusher.” 

What about the quarterback? 

Smith also shared his evaluation of Haskins, who was taken with the No. 15 pick in last year’s draft.

He started seven games and completed 58.6 percent of his passes while throwing seven touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

“I’m really excited about Dwayne, and obviously as everybody has seen, he kinda ascended as the season went on,” Smith said. “He kept improving. I had a conversation with him the other day, and I’m excited. He’s smiling, walking around the building.

“He’s excited, he’s energized. He also needs his time. He’s a young kid. He played one year at Ohio State, and he’s got the right stuff. He’s a good kid. He works hard. We’re all excited about Dwayne.”

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