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Player Spotlight: Joey Bosa

A detailed look at Joey Bosa's fantasy prospects for 2016.

BOSA TO THE BOLTS

The first real surprise of the 2016 NFL Draft was the third overall pick. The Chargers lived up to their name and shocked everyone with the selection of Ohio State’s Joey Bosa.

Though he had at one point been considered a candidate for the number one overall selection, that possibility was eliminated when the Rams traded up with the Titans so that they could snag Jared Goff. No one had connected the Chargers with Bosa for two reasons. The first was because they had done a masterful job of keeping their intent to select Bosa close to the vest. The second was because Bosa is a strange fit with this scheme, as we will see later in the article.

BERATING BOSA

There are a few minor things to nitpick about Bosa’s game. He needs to work on both his instincts and anticipation of the snap. He can sometimes get off balance and he ends up on the ground more in a game than he should. Neither are Bosa’s tackles punishing and he has a hard time bringing down bigger runners. He also has trouble regaining acceleration after having to make quick changes in direction.

One of the strangest things about Bosa’s selection is his fit. Most experts assumed that if he went to a 3-4 scheme, it would be to play outside linebacker. It would have been redundant for the Chargers to take Bosa to play this role, as they already have two competent outside backers in Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu. San Diego indicated after the Draft that Bosa will play as a 5-technique defensive end opposite of Corey Liuget. This is also strange, as two-hundred and sixty-nine pound Bosa is underweight for a traditional 3-4 end. According to NFL.com columnist Jeffri Chadiha, the Chargers believe that Bosa is so sound with his hand usage that his weight will not matter as much. Another alternative is that San Diego moves him around the formation. Chargers beat writer Michael Gehlken suggested this could be a possibility:

ESPN writer Eric Williams had another idea:

While doubtful that the Chargers make a full-time transition to the 4-3, they may employ some sort of hybrid, using 4-3 alignments more often going forward.

JUSTIFYING JOEY

Bosa is already the athlete you would expect at the NFL level. He has a well above-average SPARQ score. He is very flexible and not rigid in his movements. Bosa’s excellent hand usage is one of the biggest things that sets him apart from the other prospects in this class. He possesses a good motor and has good burst off the snap. He displays good lateral movement along the line, which helps him to stay in the mix to make a play. Additionally, he excels at playing the run, but can drop into space and cover when necessary on downs where he’s asked to stand up. He will be playing opposite another talented end and with competent pass-rushing linebackers, meaning offenses can’t key in on him as easily.

POSITIVES

  • Bosa has the baseline traits to be a competent NFL defensive end.

  • He will start immediately for San Diego.

  • Opposite of Corey Liuget and with other viable pass-rushing linebackers on the field, offenses will not be able to focus exclusively on Bosa.

NEGATIVES

  • He isn’t a seamless fit with the current 3-4 scheme that the Chargers employ.

  • If asked to play 3-4 end exclusively, being somewhat underweight, there are questions about how he will hold up against NFL offensive lineman.

  • Bosa’s fantasy outlook is clouded by not knowing exactly how the Chargers plan to use him.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Bosa will typically cost dynasty IDP owners more than they want to pay. He’s currently going in the mid-to-late second round of mixed rookie drafts. Noah Spence is the better option for the price, especially in sack-heavy formats. In a balanced or tackle-heavy league, the early third round is the soonest that Bosa should come off the board.

2016 PROJECTIONS

JOHN NORTON'S PROJECTIONS

G

TKL

AST

SCK

FF

FR

PD

INT

TD

FPT

16

32

9

5

1

1

1

0

0

82.25

AARON RUDNICKI'S PROJECTIONS

G

TKL

AST

SCK

FF

FR

PD

INT

TD

FPT

16

32

12

6

1

1

2

0

0

90.00

OTHER VIEWPOINTS

Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo in his PFF scouting report:

“Bosa’s production was as good as it gets in the country the last two years and he’s the best player in the draft. He’s versatile enough to move around the defensive line, providing strong run defense and an effective pass rusher, though a 4-3 scheme will make best use of his talents.”

Dane Brugler praises Bosa, but ultimately questions his upside in his profile of Bosa on CBSSports.com:

“Bosa is very physically gifted, but even better, he knows how to use those gifts, and works his tail off to maximize his potential. He might never be a consistent double-digit sack artist in the NFL, but he is scheme versatile with the power, athleticism and instinctive traits to disrupt the pocket.”