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I re-watched every tackle, TFL, and sack and charted them. I watched several whole game tapes from 2016 as well. After all that, I have to say — I hate Joey Bosa now more than ever.
Heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, we had a ‘C’ grade on Bosa as a prospect for the NFL. Physically gifted, but a lazy underachiever against the top competition he faced at Ohio State. In his final college season, Bosa had just 5.0 sacks. In fact, over his final 15 college games, including the 2014 title run…Bosa had just 5.0 sacks rushing from the weak/left side of the D-Line…the advantageous side to take advantage of a college teams weaker blocker (right side tackle and guard). Bosa was an underperformer for the tail end of his college career.
Bosa goes to the 2016 NFL Combine and runs a disappointing 40-time (4.8+), but nice agility times (sub-7.00)…and doesn’t blow anyone away overall. His myth was slightly shattered/cracked a bit at the Combine. He still got picked highly in the draft.
He goes to the Chargers and immediately acts like he’s the best football player in history, and gets into a contract dispute and hold out of sorts. He missed several games to start the season.
…and then he just walks into the NFL and has 10.5 sacks in about 11 games of play. Bosa had all of 5.0 sacks in his final 15 games in college…and 10.5 sacks in 11 games as an NFL rookie. Is the NFL easier than the Big Ten? Or is Bosa just a lazy, gifted performer who ‘threw a switch’? Or was Bosa just lucky? ‘Lucky’ happens sometimes with sack guys – they benefit from a variety of factors.
I watched and charted every Bosa sack from 2016. I so wanted most of them to be ‘luck’. I hate Joey Bosa because they weren’t. A few were, but that happens. In reality, most of his 2016 sacks were Bosa being a relentless pass rusher.
I was wrong on Bosa being a hack. I mocked him the whole time, but he really was terrific rushing the passer in 2016.
I don’t feel incredibly sad or embarrassed about Bosa being way better than I spouted off that he would be. I’m holding onto a shred of dignity with – I know Bosa was sloppy, lazy, ineffective as his college career went on. You had to fear that the sloppy college player with a weaker finish to his career ‘was who he was‘, and knowing analysts hype Ohio State players (coming off a national title)…it was all a cause for concern in 2016 considering the draft price. I would have passed on Bosa as a first-round player last year. And I would likely do it again if we were re-picking 2016 again. I don’t trust him, and if I get burned by that so be it.
I just re-watched Bosa’s 2016 NFL rookie season, I saw a relentless, gifted pass rusher. I didn’t see that guy in late 2014 or in 2015 at Ohio State…occasionally I’d see it against Rutgers or Maryland, but not consistently.
Of his 10.5 sacks in 2016, in just 11-12 games of play (got hurt/was out for parts of games), I’d grade 6.0 of the 10.5 sacks as — Bosa-driven. Him beating his blocker by either spinning or speeding by them or just pushing the blocker back and when the QB tried to escape, Bosa just spun from the block and bagged the QB. Only 2.0 of his 10.5 sacks from 2016 would I deem ‘lucky’…plays where Bosa was way out of the play but the protection broke down, the QB tried to escape and ended up into Bosa, who happened to be there.
As I watched play after play, whether Bosa made a tackle or not…I saw more evidence of Bosa giving blockers fits than any type of luck. Believe me, I hated every minute of it. I so wanted to be found ‘right’ here, to find the flaw or thing to harp on…but it was clear – Bosa was really good in 2016.
What does this mean for IDP/fantasy purposes?
I’m the last one that should be able to talk about it, but I’m a ‘sell high’ on Bosa. Not a ‘must dump’, but I don’t know how much better his value can get. I know he had a great rookie season, but it wasn’t like ‘next J.J. Watt‘ type of magical. He was really terrific. However, he has shown a pattern of sweet performance followed by laziness/sloppiness. He’s not such a golden athlete that he couldn’t succumb to a down season/sophomore slump and wilt under more blocking scrutiny by opponents ahead in the NFL. The best performance he may ever give may have happened last season. The hottest his name could ever be is right now, potentially. When J.J. Watt went on fire, or when Bosa’s rookie teammate Jatavis Brown exploded – they are athletes that can be all-time greats. Bosa is a just a really good pass rusher, not a future Hall of Famer (that statement probably ensures he’ll be an HOF’er just to make me look bad).
I am a seller of Bosa on hot value if I get a good price…and I am not a buyer.
I did call Joey Bosa’s rookie season wrong, so take what I say with a grain…however, I’m also the person willing to admit it. That’s why I love these ‘Rewind’ reports. I get to confirm love or uncover errors and biases/mistakes I’ve made and try to learn from them. There’s at least one ‘Rewind’ every year where I find out I’m human…it’s an early one this year. Hopefully, the only one.
Just note, if Bosa crashes from here I will lead the pitchfork and torch ‘I told you so‘ brigade! I’ll modify my stance — Bosa is prone to lazy, he’s not talent-less.