It's never too early to start covering the 2016 NFL draft. The 2015 season has yet to begin, but scouts are already watching next year's class. We'll start with Joey Bosa, a DE/DT who has been compared to J.J. Watt by Todd McShay. While I don't think Bosa is quite the same player as Watt, he is an extremely dominant player who has a good chance to be the first player drafted in 2016. How good is he? Here's some film.
Bosa plays for Ohio State, and sizes in at 6'6, 275 pounds. As a true freshman in 2013, Bosa delivered with 7.5 sacks, 44 tackles, in 13.5 tackles. In 2009, JJ Watt generated 44 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. As a sophomore, Bosa delivered 14.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. In Watt's second season (2009), he generated 21 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries. The numbers speak for themselves. While Bosa and Watt may not be the same player, Bosa has the talent to be an every-down starter in the NFL for years to come.
How good is Joey Bosa? In 2015, multiple scouts used game tape of offensive linemen facing Joey Bosa to analyze player talent. Bosa is the best defensive lineman in college football, and, I would argue, better than both Leonard Williams and Jadeveon Clowney. Had he been eligible for the 2015 draft, Bosa would likely have been a top ten pick. Why wasn't he eligible? He was only a sophomore. Bosa is still developing and learning the game. The numbers from his first two seasons are virtually identical to Clowney's. Bosa recorded 99 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, and 21 sacks. Clowney recorded 90 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, and 21 sacks.
Clowney's rookie season was derailed by injuries following a down year as a junior in college.
Following a sophomore campaign in which he recorded 40 solo tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks, Clowney recorded 28 solo tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks as a junior in 2013. Bosa has dealt with his share of minor injuries in college, so could also fall victim to the injury trap. However, while the general opinion with Clowney is that he took plays off in college, bringing to mind character concerns and questions about his NFL readiness, there are no such concerns about Bosa. He's a high motor guy that appears to give it his all on every single play. That bodes well for his NFL prospects.
How good is Bosa going to be? While he may or may not surpass J.J. Watt as the best active defensive player in the NFL, I think that Bosa will be a legitimate threat for 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and will make multiple Pro Bowls as long as he stays healthy. This is a player that a team can build a defense around, and will make some team very happy within the top five picks of 2016. Bosa could be the best player in this year's draft class, and his 2016 college campaign is worth monitoring closely. Get used to seeing him now, because he should light up the highlight films at the next level as well!--Mike B.
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