Ohio State junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa may be the most talented player (who is expected to be) in the 2016 NFL Draft class. He possesses prototypical size for his position at 6’6”, 275 lbs. and combines it with an array of physical traits and technical savvy. Bosa will turn 22 years old during his rookie season if he declares.
One of the first things that stand out while studying Bosa is the way that he moves for his size. He is a very explosive, powerful, fluid athlete with great flexibility and balance. These athletic traits allow him to bend the edge while rushing the passer. To go along with this, Bosa understands how to use these talents to bend while using his hands to defeat cut blocks and rarely end up on the ground. He consistently fires out low with a very quick, explosive first step. He plays with an excellent pad level through the down. This allows him to be very stout at the point of attack in the run game. He shows the ability to hold his spot against offensive tackles and power tight ends back into the backfield. In the run game and pass game, Bosa possesses a combination of lateral agility and technique that allow him to beat linemen and tight ends across their face.
Bosa plays with a high motor no matter the down, but there are times here and there when he will let up in his pursuit from the backside. He displays violent hand usage as he jolts the opposition back at the point of attack with ease. Even when Bosa’s initial move does not work, he shows the skill to win matches with his hand use. When defending the run, Bosa displays the ability to consistently hold his position, read the backfield, and shed the block while keeping his arm closest to the defender free. This technique is referred to as “stacking and shedding”. Setting the edge is rarely an issue for Bosa due to his pad level, strength at the point of attack, and football IQ.
One area where I would like to see Bosa improve is in his pass rush move utilization. He shows the ability to be dominant when converting speed to power, but he does not attempt to do this nearly enough. He often attempts to rush the edge when he could simply bull rush his man back into the quarterback’s lap. To go along with this, it would be advantageous for Bosa to work more moves at the snap rather than simply engaging and then working to disengage with counter moves. With his combination of power and explosiveness, Bosa should win with his initial move more often than he did at times throughout his junior campaign. Also, there were times where he got a little too amped up and this led to him jumping offside. However, this does not seem to be a persistent issue and I do not feel that it projects moving forward.
Joey Bosa played predominantly as the left defensive end in the Buckeyes’ scheme, but he has showed that he is versatile enough to play on the edge, as a five-technique, and as a three-technique. He should fit in to any defensive system and flourish due to the fact that he is the type of talent that coaches should mold their scheme around.
Overall, I view Joey Bosa as a very promising young player with a great future in front of him. He possesses elite physical traits and combines them with excellent technique. If the Cleveland Browns have one of the first few picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, Bosa should be under heavy consideration. With their need for youth and explosive athletic ability across the defensive front seven, Joey Bosa could add a much-needed dynamic to arguably the worst defense in the NFL.
Brendan Leister is a football coach with three years of experience at the high school level and one year at the youth level. He currently serves as the Passing Game Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach at Rittman High School. He loves using the game of football to help young people reach their potential on and off the field. Brendan also has a passion for X’s and O’s and evaluating players, whether they be draft prospects or in the NFL. Brendan is formerly the editor of DraftBrowns.com, where he mostly wrote scouting reports on draft prospects and X’s and O’s-related content.