Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa was taken in the first round of this year's NFL Draft, as the No. 3 overall pick for the San Diego Chargers.
Former Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo, who played seven seasons in the NFL, can relate.
Though he was taken further in the first round of the 2005 draft -- No. 28 -- the Northwestern product is no stranger to heightened expectations. He says there will be many for Bosa, who was picked after two quarterbacks went off the board (meaning the Chargers felt he was the best position player in the draft).
Earlier today on XTRA 1360, radio hosts Judson Richards and former Chargers center Nick Hardwick (who spent many years as a teammate of Castillo's) spoke to the former player about Bosa and what to expect of him his first year in the NFL. These days, players like Bosa are judged mainly by sack stats -- think J.J. Watt -- but it's more important Bosa is disruptive on a consistent basis when it comes to being successful in the league, Castillo said. Here's more:
On the position and transitioning to the NFL:
"[His position] is one of the easiest positions to learn, in terms of the scheme and in terms of what your responsibilities are. It's pretty clear-cut. You have a gap and for the most part you stay in your gap. It couldn't be more simple. In terms of the play-call and the adjustments, it really is one of the easiest mentally to learn. Now physically, it's a whole different beast. To be able to be strong enough and fast enough to actually stay in that gap, taking on a double-team, that takes time. I think he's a specimen. He's got the tools, but it still takes time and reps. It's a different feel for a guy who has mainly played outside during his career at Ohio State.
"I think back to my own time in San Diego, and that second year is when you really started developing, you really started taking off. I remember that first year, I was physically getting through it, but that second year, all of a sudden I knew when I had a chance to make a play. I knew when a play was called, when I would have an opportunity, when I would have a one-on-one. You start getting a feel for it. That takes time. It takes months. That'll come."
Does it makes sense to draft this position at the No. 3 spot?
"It's about how versatile can [that position and player] be? Once you go into that third-down passing situation, if that guy can move inside and now be disruptive, over and over; every play, getting to the backfield, getting to the quarterback's face, taking on double-teams in clear space for those rush ends -- (those guys like Ingram) -- then it makes sense. For sure it makes sense, because a guy can disrupt the game that much.
At the end of the day, it's about how much freedom he gets. I look at my career in San Diego and the different coordinators I had, and [I would be playing the] same position, but the scheme and the expectation and the freedom to make things happen -- like, I'm supposed to be inside but hey, if I see something and can jump outside, I know my linebackers are going to cover me because my coordinator gave me the freedom to do that -- you know, that changes a lot. That has a lot to do with it. I think [defensive coordinator John Pagano] is the kind of guy who can adapt and who can see where he has talent and who he needs to use. A play may be designed a certain way but he can give one guy a little freedom and tell the other guy to adjust off of him. Or he can choose not to. I think if Joey is as impressive as he can be, and as physically dominant as he can be, then I think he can do that for him. He can make situations for him where he can be a little bit more versatile and do more. And he can have a huge impact."