Chase Young watches film "like other people go on Instagram," according to manager Ian Thomas, constantly pulling up video clips on his phone. He trains twice per day and is constantly focused on staying in shape, regardless of the time or place.
Everyone who has worked with Young highlights his relentless drive to not just be great but be the best. He brought that mindset to DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland, where he developed into one of the top recruits in the nation, and to Ohio State, where his record-breaking 2019 season established him as the consensus No. 1 draft prospect.
Young has dreamed about making the NFL since he was about 6 years old, so the Redskins selecting him second overall was a surreal experience. But shortly after celebrating with his family, which he called the best part of his draft weekend, Young immediately set his sights on "putting his best foot forward" whenever he takes the field for his hometown franchise.
"The fire is definitely burning," Young told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael on May 27. "It's definitely slow, just slow roasting right now. Just being patient, and the process going on in the world, now it's trying to be healthy, hand sanitize, masks everywhere I go, and that's one of the biggest things I'm focusing on right now."
The itch to improve began shortly after receiving the life-changing call from Washington head coach Ron Rivera. In post-draft media interviews, Young talked about how "it's go time now" and how he wanted to start building relationships with his new teammates right away. During a surprise Zoom call with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, Young expressed that "we've got to get back in the lab and get to work."
Young took a rare day off from training after the draft, deciding instead to spend the morning hanging with his family and responding to congratulatory messages, one of which came from fellow defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.
Wanting to connect with one of the team's leaders, Young responded by asking if they could meet up since they both live in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Allen agreed, and that afternoon he, Young and defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis relaxed at Allen's house for just under an hour. Young called it a "great conversation."
"We just hung out and talked, it was really informal," Allen said. "He just had a couple questions like what was it like coming from college to the NFL, just basic questions that a rookie would ask. After that we just had some dinner and just kicked it."
Allen and Ioannidis were just a few of the Redskins that Young got in touch with during draft weekend. Of course, he spoke to his former college teammates, Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Terry McLaurin, but he also talked to Montez Sweat and Landon Collins, defensive line coach Sam Mills III and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
"Me just coming in, I'm going to be a sponge and definitely just work my hardest to be a guy who can make an impact out of that [defensive line] group," Young said.
Young said he spent the majority of the night after the draft watching film, then looked over "a lot" more video over the next two days. He also resumed training; that Saturday, he mostly stretched and went on a light run, while on Sunday he lifted and ran again."
These are also some of the ways Young has prepared over the past month amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He's hungry to test himself against NFL competition, but he does not like to make excuses, either. So for now, he is pushing himself as hard as he can physically while making sure he's locked in during every virtual team meeting.
He knows every workout and classroom session will pay off when he can finally showcase his skillset at the professional level.
"I feel like being a pro is basically being a man and just taking care of everything you have to do no matter the circumstance," Young said. "Being a pro, being a dude, I feel like that's what you have to do. Obviously we have this circumstance, we have this event, and I feel like it's all about how we as rookies respond to this event, and I feel like our response is going to dictate our outcome."