Young and Curl were both named to PFF's 2020 NFL All-Rookie Team, which was released following the conclusion of the regular season Sunday night. Washington is one of just two teams to have two defensive players on the list.
Young might not have started with the numbers that showed his true potential, but he has improved each game and become an all-around player. The rookie defensive end finished his first regular season leading all rookies in sacks (7.5), forced fumbles (5) and tackles for loss or no gain against the run (11). Young capped off his season with a 87.2 overall grade from PFF, which is only behind Aldon Smith, Von Miller and Nick Bosa for the highest overall grades among rookie edge defenders over the past decade. Miller and Bosa went on to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors; Young is widely considered to be the odds-on favorite to win the award this year.
"He is likely the most talented defensive lineman on what has emerged as one of the best defensive lines in the NFL this season. If Young does walk away with the defensive rookie of the year award, it will be well deserved," PFF's Ben Linsey.
Curl was not considered in nearly as high of a regard as Young -- he was a seventh-round pick, while Young was taken No. 2 overall -- but he has still been effective since entering the starting lineup for Landon Collins, who was placed on Injured Reserve after Week 7.
Curl has exceeded head coach Ron Rivera's expectations since training camp. He finished his debut season with a 68.0 overall grade in 763 defensive snaps, making Curl the highest graded rookie safety. After playing several positions in Washington's secondary, Curl has found himself excelling at the strong safety position with 88 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown -- and four pass deflections.
"His 19 run stops were more than any other rookie safety this season, as were his 16 stops in coverage," Linsey said. "The defensive line gets all the headlines in Washington, but Curl is part of a back seven that has quietly played very well for much of the season."
Another Washington rookie who missed the cut but is still deserving of recognition is running back Antonio Gibson. Gibson split time as a rusher and a receiver at Memphis, but because Rivera and the coaching staff saw his potential, the team drafted him with its third-round pick.
Not only did Gibson receive an 80.9 overall grade for the season, including an 85.3 rushing grade, but he also hit milestones and franchise records. He recorded 206 touches for 1,042 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns, becoming one of seven rookies in franchise history to hit the 1,000-yard mark. Meanwhile, his 795 rushing yards were sixth-most among rookies in a season.
Gibson's biggest performance came against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. He rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns, which earned him NFL Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.