NCAA

The Premier Draft Prospect In The 2016 NFL Draft

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If you asked most draft analysts who the top player in the 2016 NFL draft is, most of them would probably start with Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. The junior defensive end has been a sensation since the moment he stepped on campus.

In his freshman campaign, Bosa put up 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, which are ungodly numbers for a freshman. His sophomore season didn’t disappoint either as he put up 21 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks on his way to becoming the best defender in the country. This season, there has been a big dip in production as he has put up only 16 tackles for loss and 5 sacks with one game to go. This dip in production can be attributed to the increased attention he has gotten from opposing offenses. Bosa has faced double and triple teams on occasion, which have helped limit his ability to make plays in the backfield.

Despite the fact that Bosa has seen a regression in production from his sophomore year, Bosa has learned how to work out like a professional.

“When you’re a freshman here, your body feels good, you feel like you don’t need to be in treatment and you’re doing these silly workouts,” Bosa said. “You’re like, ‘Why does this help?’

“Then once you do it and do it and do it, you realize the impact it has on helping you feel better, play better. Once I bought into that — it wasn’t just this year, it’s been slowly progressing since I’ve been here, but now I just think it’s doing more for me than ever.”

That type of change hasn’t only been in the weight room, but also in the meeting room as well. Bosa has become more of a leader in his junior year.

“He’s never been a bad guy,” coach Urban Meyer said. “Always been a great kid, but he really wasn’t a leader — kind of a guy in the back of the room.

“Now he’s in the front of the room, and it’s night and day different. He’s here all day long.”

That is the type of things that NFL coaches, executives and scouts will eat. When you invest such a high pick on a player, you want someone that will not only be a great player on the field but a great leader and teammate off of it.

On the field, it is impossible to like the imposing Ohio State defender. Bosa plays with technique well beyond his years. He isn’t the type of defensive end that will abuse offensive tackles with speed, but he utilizes impeccable technique and incredible power to become a force for the Buckeyes.

As a pass-rusher, Bosa utilizes a plethora of moves to get to the quarterback. He can attack an offensive tackle’s edge with a double scissors, or swipe move, and he go walk the tackle back into the quarterback’s lap with a gorgeous long arm bull rush.

Against the run, Bosa may be even more dominant. He does a fantastic job of getting to his depth and setting the edge against the run. He rarely gets turned or widen and he crashes down from the backside as good as anyone else. Bosa has an ameba-like quality to be able to take on multiple blockers and hold his ground while also having the ability to knife through a blocker to get into the backfield.

A lot will be made throughout the draft process that Bosa lacks the ability to bend around the edge and win with speed; however, they are ignorant to the fact that those traits aren’t necessary to be a great defensive end in the NFL. His ability to convert from speed to power give him as much pass-rushing potential as anyone else in the NFL.

Last year, Leonard Williams was in a similar position. He was far and away the best player in the draft, but teams overthought him, which led to him falling all the way to pick No. 6 where the New York Jets found a steal. Will the NFL make the same mistake again and let Bosa slip out of the top-five? That reminds to be seen, but the fact remains that Bosa will be a phenomenal player in the NFL.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com