Will Chase Young start for 49ers right away? Kyle Shanahan gives a hint

Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young (99)
Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young (99) / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The 49ers' trade for Chase Young helps the defense a ton, but whether or not he starts is a good question. Perhaps Kyle Shanahan helped answer it.

The San Francisco 49ers have desperately tried to get a complementary pass-rusher to pair with All-Pro edge Nick Bosa, dating all the way back to the 2019 season when the latter was a rookie and the Niners traded for defensive end Dee Ford.

That worked, at least at times, but Ford's injury history negated that from being successful.

Since then, San Francisco's efforts have largely failed or underwhelmed. Yet the team's NFL trade deadline blockbuster pickup of edge Chase Young, Bosa's former Ohio State teammate, is hopefully going to be a move in the opposite direction.

Ford was a rotational player during his turbulent 49ers tenure, primarily coming in on passing downs and staying off the field during rushing situations.

Young, however, could easily surpass the roles for other defensive ends who have tried occupying that No. 2 edge spot opposite Bosa, names like Clelin Ferrell and Drake Jackson.

According to one unofficial source, that's precisely what's going to happen.

49ers 'unofficially' list Chase Young as a starter on depth chart.

Young has been with the Niners for just over a week now since the Oct. 31 trade deadline, and with the team having its bye, the No. 2 overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft hasn't even played a game with his new squad.

However, San Francisco listed Young as a defensive end starter alongside Bosa, leapfrogging the aforementioned Ferrell and Jackson, who'll revert to being rotational/depth players.

The San Jose Mercury News' Cam Inman dropped the find during Wednesday's practice:

It's important to note that the depth chart listed on the 49ers website isn't official, and it comes not from head coach Kyle Shanahan but from the team's PR group. It's good intel, but it's not set in stone.

That said, it makes sense for the Niners to play Young as much as possible, given their win-now mentality and in light of recent defensive struggles that have seen them lose three games in a row.

Even further, however, Shanahan might have dropped a hint during his Wednesday presser.

Kyle Shanahan expects Chase Young to play a big role for 49ers vs. Jaguars

If San Francisco wants to end its three-game losing streak, it'll have to do so on the road back east against a 6-2 Jacksonville Jaguars team that's won five in a row behind quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Not easy, especially considering the Jags are also coming off their bye in Week 9.

As far as playing a lot, Shanahan told reporters that Young was "going to be out there a good bit on Sunday."

Related story: Chase Young on his trade to 49ers: 'I wasn't mad'

When pressed about the kind of role and impact the pass-rusher would have and whether or not it'd be a substantial one, Shanahan responded, "Yes, hope so."

Since Young is already in football shape and isn't coming back from an injury, the 49ers wouldn't need to put him on a snap count of any kind. They might be willing to hold him back from some of the more complex and innovative defensive formations that are used, but the likelihood is for Young to see plenty of field time alongside Bosa.

And maybe that combo will be enough to thwart Lawrence and Co., thereby giving the Niners a much-needed victory in Week 10.

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