The NFL is a passing league, and there’s no doubt that quarterbacks are the stars. So it’s important to have defensive linemen who can slow down opposing offenses. Sam Gold examines one of the best defensive lineman in this year’s draft, Joey Bosa.
Joey Bosa was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and didn’t disappoint in his three years with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Collecting Freshman All-American honors, Unanimous All-American honors as a sophomore, and Consensus All-American honors in his junior year, Bosa enters the NFL Draft as a potential top 10 selection this April.
Below, you will see the spider chart comparison from mockdraftable.com between Joey Bosa’s combine performance against other defensive end prospects since 1999.
Although Bosa does not possess ideal strength, straight line speed or arm length, he has active hands and uses his natural leverage to control the edge to be an effective edge rusher in the NFL.
Bosa is capable using a variety of pass rushing techniques, but he is at his best when he takes advantage of his length and natural leverage to drive back a blocker. Here, he expertly places his powerful hands on the shoulder pads of the right tackle and presses him backwards and off-balance:
This “stab-and-grab” bullrush uses one arm to create leverage, while the other arm prevents the blocker from breaking his grip. Bosa’s hand usage is his best attribute by far and is something defensive lineman often struggle with coming into the NFL.
In pass rush, Bosa needs to pair his moves back-to-back more effectively like a speed-to-spin or push-and-pull move in order to separate from blockers to be consistently threaten opposing quarterbacks.
In a league that is notoriously pass-heavy, the run stuffing defensive end has become all but extinct, but Bosa fits that mold perfectly. Teams rarely ran his direction in 2015 and when they did, they would send double teams and, even triple teams, at the point of attack in an attempt to neutralize him. His threat off the edge was enough for offensive coordinators to consistently game plan against him:
Below, Bosa uses his length to control the blocker, then he disengages and pursues the ball carrier for a tackle at the line of scrimmage.
Bosa’s best fit in the NFL is lining up as a 5 tech or as a 7 tech in a three-point stance He does not have the quick-twitch muscles to be a weakside defender at the next level. His ability to use his hands and control the point of attack makes him a perfect fit as a strongside defensive end in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 front in base packages. While, he has a versatile skill-set to shift inside in obvious pass rushing situations.
Fun Fact: John Bosa, Joey’s father, played for the Miami Dolphins in the 1980’s, while his brother, Nick, is a five-star recruit in the 2016 class and recently committed to play for the Buckeyes as well.