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How Chase Young is handling the NFL tanking talk he’s driving

The Giants and their fans can only hope this is their future — the rare defensive player to be a Heisman Trophy finalist, a hulking 6-foot-5, 265-pound monster with blonde dreadlocks who specializes in terrorizing quarterbacks.

Chase Young is in town this weekend, in New York City for just the second time in his young life, potentially getting a peek at his future home, possibly the light at the end of this dark tunnel the Giants have called a season.

Young didn’t have any particular thoughts on the Giants — he claimed to not pay attention to mock drafts, much the way he doesn’t let negative comments distract him — but the elite defensive end knows what the NFL thinks of his future. He can’t ignore the talk of teams tanking in an attempt to get in position to land him and their fans expressing hope through social media he falls to their respective teams.

“It’s just more motivation to try to keep up what I’m doing,” the Hyattsville, Md., native said on Friday at the Marriott Marquis in Midtown.

Chase Young
Chase YoungGetty Images

He led the nation with 16.5 sacks and racked up 21 tackles for loss, three passes defensed and six forced fumbles despite being suspended two games for an NCAA rules violation for allegedly accepting a loan from a family friend. Young was the first defensive player to be voted a Heisman finalist since Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers in 2016. The last defensive player to finish second was Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o in 2012.

“The whole season has felt special to me,” said Young, who helped Ohio State go undefeated and reach the College Football Playoff, where the Buckeyes will meet Clemson on Dec. 28 in the Fiesta Bowl. “Everything was clicking.”

The Giants, who have lost nine games in a row to tie a franchise record, could be in position to land Young. They own the No. 2 pick at the moment, according to Tankathon.com, one game behind the one-win Bengals and a game ahead of the Dolphins and Redskins, the teams the Giants face the next two weeks. The Bengals likely will be looking for a quarterback, which could leave Young — the winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award given to the nation’s best defensive player — to Big Blue.

“This is a guy who you think about [Jadeveon] Clowney. Same sack numbers,” ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. recently said. “Same sack numbers as Myles Garrett. The attitude and approach of Chase, it would be perfect. Clowney, Garrett, Von Miller, the Bosas, [Joey and Nick]. That’s how you will expect him to be.”

The Giants’ 25th-ranked defense could certainly use a player like that. Everyone could. Some think even more highly of Young. Former NFL offensive line coach Paul Alexander and Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt have compared certain qualities in him to that of Giants Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.

“That’s crazy, man — crazy — that’s one of the greats,” Young said. “It’s almost like I don’t even want to [be compared to Taylor] because then if I don’t play to that expectation, then [it will be a letdown]. But nah, it’s cool, man.

“I’m just going to continue to do what I do and continue to try to be the best football player I can be.”

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