INDIANAPOLIS – Ohio State defensive end Chase Young said Thursday he believes he is the best player in this year’s NFL draft, it’s just the league’s talent evaluators are going to have to wait to see that again.
Young said at the scouting combine he will not take part in any of the on-field workouts for his position group in Lucas Oil Stadium and will only do position drills during Ohio State’s pro day on March 25. The defensive linemen and linebackers are scheduled to work out on Saturday at the combine.
“That first day at (training) camp when I step on the field I want to be the best player I can be, I don’t want to waste time trying to be a combine athlete,” Young said Thursday. “I need to know I put my best foot forward trying to be the best player I can be.”
Then asked what he would do at the Buckeyes’ pro day, Young said: “I’m going to do position drills.”
Young, who led the nation in sacks this past season with 16.5 despite missing two games with an NCAA suspension, is considered one of the draft’s top prospects and there are some personnel executives who believe he is the highest-rated player on the board.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy as the Tigers dominated on the way to a national championship, is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the April’s draft. Young, however, believes he should be.
“I definitely think I’m the best player in the draft,” Young said. “I think I showed on my tape, you can look at every game, I think I showed (it). I think I put my best foot forward this year … I think I bring a lot to the table, the whole package as a defensive end.”
Asked about what scheme he could fit into in the NFL, Young added:
“I feel I can do everything, I’ll do anything a team needs me to do,” Young said. ” … If they want me to move in to three tech and rush the passer, outside, stand up, I can do it. Drop back, check tight ends, check the back I can do it. Play linebacker I can do it, I feel like I’m going to come in with that mindset.”
Young was also asked Thursday about the fact he did not have a sack in his final three games of this past season. After a four-sack game Oct. 26 against Wisconsin before his suspension and a three-sack game Nov. 23 against Penn State when he returned from his suspension, Young did not have a sack against Michigan, Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game or Clemson in the national semifinal.
“I’m not really tripping on numbers I could have put up,” Young said. “I put up some pretty good numbers so far, I led the nation in sacks missing two games. What I did was enough.
“If you know football you would see that, you would see who they changed their whole offensive gameplan for one guy, but you know a lot of people may not really know how to study the tape, they may not know how to watch football, but if you know, you know. Being the best defensive end is not about sacks, it’s about being the most destructive player on the field, you can do that without sacks.”
Also on Thursday, Young said how much it meant that LeBron James, an Ohio native, has defended and praised Young on social media.
“The best athlete on the earth, definitely somebody you want to be like on the field … off the field, off the court too,” Young said. “He’s never had issues off the court, he’s just an all-around good guy … It means a lot, I never thought the best player in the world would be a fan of me.”