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Will Joey Bosa Fall In The 2016 NFL Draft?

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Since the 2015 NFL draft ended, Ohio State defensive end, Joey Bosa has been the consensus No. 1 player in this draft class. He was coming off a season with 55 tackles, 21 for loss and 13.5 sacks. He was as dominant a force in college football as any other as a true sophomore for the Buckeyes. Nevertheless, Bosa saw a big dip in his numbers this past season as a junior. He finished with 51 tackles, 16 for loss and five sacks, a huge drop from his gaudy numbers as a sophomore. Even though the Buckeye tended to face double and triple teams on a consistent basis, evaluators are still using his lack of production as a knock against him.

As you peruse the scouting reports on Bosa, you see a word that gets brought up a ton, “solid.” Not great, not fantastic, not exceptional, just solid. For most players in this draft, that would be a great compliment to their game as solid football players carve out long and prosperous careers in the NFL; however, for a player like Bosa, that could be considered a slap in the face.

The reason many deem Bosa’s game as solid is because he doesn’t play with a ton of flash. He’s not the type of player who is going to use his speed to blow by an offensive tackle, he’s not going to hit a prolific spin to leave a blocker grasping at air, but what he is going to do is dominate opposing linemen with the fundamentals.

Bosa has the best hand use in this entire draft and it isn’t particularly close. He routinely has great hand placement where he uses his immense length, upper body strength and lower body explosion to put offensive linemen on their heels.

The former Ohio State national champion is never going to be a Von Miller type who wins with his immense athletic tools and incredible flexibility, which scares a lot of evaluators, especially when talking about taking him early in the draft. This is why analysts have pegged Bosa has a left defensive end only, which is usually where the power defensive end is placed and it is usually not a position that many teams covet at the top of the draft.

The best way for Bosa to boost his stock back into the top-five would be to have a great showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. If he can prove that he is more athletic that his detractors say, it would quiet the concerns about whether he can be a productive edge-rusher in the NFL.

Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware’s success for the Denver Broncos throughout this season and in the Super Bowl has led many to devalue the power rushers who still have a ton of success, which is why some people rank his former teammate, Noah Spence ahead of him. Players like Olivier Vernon, Greg Hardy and Tamba Hali have proven that you don’t need to be an athletic freak to make it on the edge if you have great power and hand use. In fact, Bosa models his game after Hali with the way he defeats blocks and uses his hands.

Last season, Leonard Williams was in the same position as Bosa. The consensus No. 1 player in the draft but questions about his ability to get after quarterback caused him to fall to pick No. 6. Will Bosa fall victim to the same fate as the former USC defensive lineman? That remains to be seen, but there is already writing on the wall.


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