When I first heard the news break about Willie Young’s defection to Chicago, I couldn’t have been more thrilled; not only does this acquisition add quality depth to a defensive line in desperate need of it, but it keeps a productive pass rusher away from the division rival Detroit Lions. When I saw the details of his 3-year $9 million contract, the thrill turned to shock. How did the Bears sign such a talented, and reportedly highly sought-after, defensive end for such a low price? I’m still not sure, but I’m glad they did. With the further additions of Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston at the same position I doubt the plan involves him starting many games next season, but at this price tag he doesn’t need to. However, I do expect him to play a lot of meaningful snaps this year, so I thought you guys should get to know him:
College Career: Young got plenty of experience against quality competition playing in 49 games in the ACC for North Carolina State. In his 4-year career with the Wolfpack he registered 194 tackles, 46 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, 3 interceptions (he even returned one for a 34 yard touchdown), and 4 forced fumbles. Young’s best season came in 2009 as a senior when he recorded 54 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles. He never missed a game during his college career. Young had a lackluster performance at the 2010 NFL Scouting combine, leading to him falling to the 7th round where the Lions selected him with the 213th overall pick.
Pro Career: After being drafted by Detroit, Young had a slow start to his professional career and was inactive all but 2 games in his rookie season. In 4 years with the Lions he’s tallied 72 tackles and 6 sacks. The 2013 season was Young’s best by far when he posted 47 tackles, 3 sacks, and recovered 2 fumbles. While the sack numbers aren’t great, he did have 48 quarterback hurries to show he can get after the opponent’s passer. I think Young is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential and should be a high-caliber player in Chicago for years to come.
What do you guys think? Is this guy the steal of free agency, or is he just a flash in the pan? Show me some comments!