By drafting Chase Young second overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Washington Football Team hoped they'd be getting a franchise cornerstone for years to come.
Through three-quarters of Young's rookie season, his play has been as good as advertised, if not better. But there's another area where the pass rusher has impressed several people in the organization during his rookie season: his leadership.
Speaking with local media on Wednesday, quarterback Alex Smith said he's been wowed by Young's display of leadership this season.
“It’s crazy unusual for a rookie, I think, to have the type of leadership that Chase has, genuine leadership," Smith said.
For many high draft picks, there's a ton of pressure for them to come in and perform right away. Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, knows that feeling well himself. Young had enormous expectations placed on him entering the season. Earlier this season when the pass rusher had a few game stretch where he struggled, he certainly heard about it.
Over the past month, though, Young has been playing at an All-Pro level for Washington. This past Sunday, he turned in a historic performance against San Francisco, one of the best outings in a single-game by a Burgundy and Gold defender ever.
"I think a lot of young guys, especially high picks, I think you feel pressure to do it some way or somehow," Smith said. "I think Chase is so comfortable in his own skin and being who he is. I think guys respect that, but it’s rare to have a guy that young step in and really affect his teammates as positively as he has."
Even when Young is on the sidelines, he's fully engaged in happening on the field. One example of such was during Washington's Week 13 victory over Pittsburgh when cameras captured Young sprinting 40 yards down the sideline to congratulate one of his teammates after making a play.
"I’ve never seen a guy roam the sidelines like he does as we’re on offense," Smith said. "How engaged he is, how honest he is and sincere, and how much he cares about his teammates, how much he loves competition. It’s very, very rare."
Young is starring for Washington on the field, but he impacts the entire organization in a positive way off of the gridiron, too.
"He continues to have a big impact beyond his play on this team," Smith said. "I do think that is special for a young guy. I think that says a lot certainly about who he is as a person.