While he’s no longer the favorite to be taken with the number one pick in the upcoming NFL draft, Joey Bosa of Ohio State isn’t going to fall far, with the Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens all looking like very likely destinations.
Probably the best defensive player in this draft class, Bosa has 26 sacks in three seasons with the Buckeyes, including playing a big part in the national championship just over a year ago. The 6’6 defensive end did disappointing many in the combine with a 4.86 time on the 40, but it’s not going to make him take nosedive in the mocks. He’s extremely physically and athletically gifted and seems like a very NFL ready prospect. The comparisons to J.J. Watt? Probably a different player. Jared Allen seems like a better fit. Both are simply immensely big and strong.
Not everything is perfect with Bosa, especially when it comes to straightforward speed and occasional lack of explosiveness, but there’s just too many good things to overlook. Which means that if he doesn’t go first with the Tennessee Titans (Laremy Tunsil seems to be the favorite for most as the number one pick), someone in the top 6 is going to give him a contract. The Cowboys, Chargers and Ravens are all very interested.
Not that the Titans aren’t, but it seems like their top priority, especially in a draft that’s filled with talented defensive linemen even beyond the first round, is protecting Marcus Mariota, and that calls for an offensive tackle like Tunsil to be picked.
So where does that leave Bosa? With the Browns almost guaranteed to take a quarterback, the Chargers are third and they’ve already met with the two-time All-American, who also had 51 tackles for a loss during his three years under Urban Meyer. The Cowboys pick fourth and will probably put defense ahead of everything in the first round. They’ve lost talent in a defensive line that needed help anyway, so Bosa makes perfect sense. The Ravens have also been showing interest, but if they do pick him, Bosa will have to play as a linebacker in the 3-4 defense, which make it a little bit more difficult of an adjustment.
He does look like a can’t miss defensive prospect right now, who’ll need very little work to be an NFL player. But teams aren’t drafting someone this high just to play in the NFL. A defensive end taken early is expected to produce double digit sack numbers more than once in his career, and be one of the best pass rushers in the league by the time he’s in year three. Is Bosa that good? Probably, but draft experts have been wrong before, and there is that downhill speed warning sign.