NFL trade rumors around 2020 Rookie Defensive Player of the Year Chase Young are beginning to swirl. If a trade comes to fruition, consider the Detroit Lions one of the possible landings spots for the 2020 No. 2 pick.
At least that’s what Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton argued.
Moton listed the Lions among the five most likely teams to acquire Young in a trade, proposing Detroit send a 2024 third-round pick and edge rusher Julian Okwara to the Washington Commanders in exchange for the 24-year-old edge rusher.
“Heading into the 2023 season, the Lions have an opportunity to win the NFC North following quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ move from Green Bay to New York (Jets),” Moton wrote. “Remember, Detroit split the season series with the division-winning Minnesota Vikings and finished 9-8 last year.
“In tandem with Aidan Hutchinson on the edge, Young could give the Lions a boost in a wide-open division race.”
Young recorded 7.5 sacks with 10 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits and 4 forced fumbles in 2020 as a rookie. Since then, though, he’s only played in 12 contests because of tears to his ACL and patellar tendon in his right knee.
Over the past two seasons, Young registered 1.5 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 5 quarterback hits in those 12 games.
Proposed Trade Ships Lions DE Chase Young
CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin argued Young as a fit for the Lions, naming them one of a possible five “logical landing spots” for the defensive end on May 16. That began the initial rumors of Young potentially coming to Detroit.
Young trade rumors are circling again to begin June because of a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
While Breer admitted that “it seems unlikely the Washington brass would move” Young this offseason, he also wrote, “I know they’d be open to listening” to trade offers.
Part of the potential motivation for Washington to trade Young is the amount of money the Commanders have already dedicated to their defensive line.
“The Commanders have already paid Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen on the interior of the defensive line, and giving two more pass rushers, in Young and Montez Sweat, big contracts might be tough,” Breer wrote. “So as Young tries to prove he can get healthy and back to himself again, he and Sweat might be competing for the last spot.”
Moton proposed the Lions offering a third-round pick next year and Okwara, who was a third-round pick in Young’s draft class.
“In return for Young, the Lions should offer a third-round pick and the younger Okwara brother to Washington,” Moton wrote. “While on the field for just 40 percent of the defensive snaps in the 2021 season, Okwara registered five sacks, six tackles for loss and 14 pressures. Based on those flashes, he could produce at a high level in a starting role.
“Furthermore, Okwara would benefit from playing alongside Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat. He’s not going to see a lot of attention with that trio on the front line.”
Similar to Young, Okwara has dealt with injuries in the NFL. In three seasons, he’s never played more than 13 games, and as a rookie, he only dressed for six contests.
Last season, Okwara recorded 17 combined tackles, including 3 for loss, 3 quarterback hits and 2 sacks in 10 games.
How Young Fits With the Lions
A healthy Young would be a scary addition to Detroit’s defense.
The Lions selected their own future pass rushing star in defensive end Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 in last year’s draft. Pairing Hutchinson with Young would give the Lions perhaps the best young pass rushing duo in the league.
Detroit also grabbed edge rusher James Houston in the 2022 draft. He recorded 8 sacks in the final seven games last season.
But Young wouldn’t just give the Lions a dynamite third pass rusher. He would also be a significant upgrade for their run defense.
As a rookie, Young finished among the top 10 edge rushers in run defense according to the Pro Football Focus player grades.
In 2022, the Lions were 29th in total run defense and 30th in yards allowed per carry. Adding a player with Young’s talent to the defensive line is arguably the biggest missing piece for the Detroit defense because of what Young can do both as a pass rusher and against the run.