I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.To read more about the 2016 NFL Draft Project, Click Here.
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State - 6'6, 275 - Junior - #97
Every draft has its household names that are repeated time and time again for a full year before April arrives and we finally find out if we can believe the hype that has been bestowed on a few players all along. Their names are often used in the title of the year, such as, "2016 was the Joey Bosa Draft."
The formula for such a phenomenon is when a fantastic program produces a fantastic prospect and then he is on full display all year long. Everyone who cares about this process knows who Bosa is and what makes him one of the top prospects, so it does color your perception in a study like this. Sometimes, I prefer to know very little about a player when the tape comes on. But, with Bosa, you know so much that you cannot help but have a very high bar of expectations which can often work against a player.
That said, Bosa is a legitimate game wrecker. He has everything you look for in a 1st rounder at DE. Does he have 10 sack potential in the NFL with an array of moves along with attributes that offer power and speed? Yes. Does he also answer the bell on running plays? Absolutely. The question is whether he is very good or elite at the next level. That is the difference in expectations when choosing between #1 overall and #25 overall.
What I liked: Bosa checks the boxes repeatedly as you go down the list. When I am watching a defensive end, I start with the idea that he has both the conditioning and the motor to fight relentlessly on every play. There are almost no great players at this position that do not possess the tireless motor. Bosa gets triple teamed at times and yet keeps fighting. If you are going to get attention, it better be clear that you are willing to fight any battle thrown at you all day long - regardless of the score. I really like Bosa in this regard and it might be my favorite part of his game. Now, there are a lot of "try hard" guys who do not run like linebackers, so that is where Bosa leaves those guys in the dust. He is 275, with a chance to add 10 or 15 more, yet runs like a linebacker off the edge. He has fantastic hands and arms in his technique. Flawless, really, with his ability to put quick moves on linemen, or push them back with a fork lifting bull rush. He is so good against the run that in the 4 games I watched for this report, I don't think teams ran in his direction hardly at all. This, of course, is the opposite of what happens to elite pass rushers - usually, the opponent tries to slow them down by running right at him. What if this guy is great at stopping the run and can get 10 sacks? It appears the tools and the "want" are there.
What I did not like: The questions with Bosa are going to be whether he is good or great at rushing off the edge. There are many great college rushers who stall out at 6 or 7 sacks at the next level and those guys are useful, but you would never want to spend a pick at the top of the 1st round on them. He does get locked up on some blocks at times that take him out of the play, but I would not call this abnormal. He also converts well from power to speed on his moves, but sometimes that comes close to causing balance issues. He does stumble out of a few moves that might otherwise be sacks. He flirts with targeting or unnecessary roughness penalties, which some might see as a negative but others might not mind at all (mean streak). He also has a chance to be a guy who routinely gets offside penalties trying to jump the snap. And, it should be mentioned, he missed the season opener for a suspension by his program in which the details remain fuzzy.
Summary and Potential Fit For the Cowboys: This guy could be exactly what the Cowboys desire to fit on the end where they currently employ Greg Hardy. You need a run-stopping defensive end to counter-balance the smaller edge rushers in DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, so when it comes to whether the Cowboys could use him, the answer is a resounding "yes".
I am not sure I would spend a top 5 pick to address that situation when there are other spots I might desire more, but I do see a fair amount of Jared Allen in Bosa's game which should excite anyone if he ever ends up leading the NFL in sacks multiple times (like Allen).
He is what people have said he is. He is a fantastic defensive front guy who will make plays and turn games with physical talents and relentless battle. He has room to develop and he is just 20 years old. It appears we can believe the hype when it comes to Joey Bosa. He is that good.