Boza has become a rather polarizing prospect in these parts. I'm not sure why that is really. I know recently we've heard questions being raised about his drop off in production his senior year and the fact he was suspended the first game of the 2015 season, but I think those issues may be getting brought up by teams like Miami or Tampa who would love to see him fall to them. For those that say he's not worth the 4th overall pick because he's not talented enough, well, I have to wonder if they haven't watched him play and decided to read the "weaknesses" someone wrote up in a draft profile. I mean, he's being talked about by some like he should only be taken on day two.
Is he the second coming of DeMarcus Ware? Absolutely not. He's a different type of player. He's built to be a LDE in a 4-3 defense. That's another argument for some against drafting him. If he's not a pass rushing RDE, he's not worthy of this high of a draft pick. What's being missed is the fact that he'd have a huge impact for the Cowboys D in several ways even if he does play the left side.
It's been pointed out a number of times how rookie defensive ends rarely get double-digit sacks, no matter if they are considered elite pass rushers or not. Most of us understand and agree with that so there are calls for a veteran on the right side. Drafting Bosa would move Lawrence to the right side. He has the skills to be very effective in that role so bringing in Bosa not only gives the team an elite prospect at LDE, but solves the issue with getting a quality, veteran, pass rusher on the right side. They also have a developing RDE in Randy Gregory who has tremendous upside if he can grow up.
It looked like the light came on for Lawrence in the second half of 2015. He recorded seven sacks in the last eight games and that was mainly from the left side with little help. Crawford was playing injured and Hardy wasn't the pass-rushing force the team expected. Now, put Lawrence on the right side, have a healthy Crawford collapsing the pocket and have Bosa on the left side finding his way into the backfield like he always does and you have the pass rush you want without spending a ridiculous amount on a veteran who may or may not have "it" anymore.
Speaking of veteran pass rushers, who are these elite veterans everyone wants to bring in? Olivier Vernon? He had less sacks than Lawrence last year and he had a healthy Ndamukong Suh on the line with him. In fact, in four years, he's had one double-digit sack season and that was back in 2013. I've seen a lot of folks saying he's the guy they want because he's young. Well, for a player that hasn't sniffed double-digit sacks for the last two seasons, I don't see what the fuss is all about based on the price it'd be to sign him.
While we're talking veterans, and although he's not a defensive end, let's talk Ndamukong Suh for a second. He is (was) considered the best defensive tackle in football. The Dolphins spent a king's ransom to bring him in and were rewarded with a player who had six sacks on the season. Talk about buyer's remorse! Suh was considered a can't miss veteran. He's the highest paid defensive player in the history of the NFL and look what the Dolphins got from him. Who's to say Dallas doesn't break the bank and get the Brandon Carr of defensive ends themselves? Then where does that leave them?
Moving back to the veteran defensive ends out there we see Von Miller. He'll either get franchised, sign a new deal with the Broncos or he'll be in Jacksonville as the Jags have made it clear they are going to overpay for pass rushers (they're also said to be targeting Vernon). Should we jump on Mario Williams if he becomes available? He'd be a good choice, but there are questions surrounding him as well. After recording double-digit sacks in three consecutive seasons, he only reached the half-way point in 2015 and recorded five. Was he not a fit for Rex Ryan's defense or is he on the downside of his career? Could you guarantee which Mario you're getting? Should the Cowboys get into a bidding war with 31 other teams to find out?
Then there's DeMarcus Ware. I love the guy (as we all do) and would be happy if he came back because he'd be a terrific mentor for young Randy Gregory. Unfortunately, he turns 34 before training camp. One reason he was let go by the Cowboys was because he had a hard time staying healthy. That was back in 2013 when he recorded six sacks. In 2014 with Denver, he barely made it to double-digits when he recorded 10 and in 2015 he brought down the QB seven and a half times. Keep in mind he had Derek Wolfe and Von Miller with him on the line so offenses were not focused on stopping him alone. He has battled injuries in Denver as well and may not be worth the price tag. Who else is out there that you're excited about...Robert Ayers, Tamba Hali, Chris Long? Looks at their age and track record, do you really believe any of them would be better than Bosa?
It seems that the Bosa detractors out there love to bring up the perceived short-comings, while at the same time ignoring the strengths he brings to the table. He may not be "quick-twitch" as we're constantly reminded, but he still somehow ends up in the opponents backfield...a lot. As a freshman, he had 13.5 tackles for loss. In his sophomore season, he hit 13.5 again, but that was his number of sacks (with 21 TFLs). After that season, teams consistently double and triple teamed him. His stats went down as a result, but he still had 16 TFLs. That's impact. He's eating up blockers like that and still recording that many tackles for loss. Sorry, you don't make splash plays like that, while double and triple teamed, without having serious skill. He won't see many double teams and probably no triple teams if drafted by the Cowboys. Offenses will be directing their attention to Lawrence and Crawford. He'll have less attention than he's had since his freshman year. After two years of being the focus of the opposing o-line, he may find one-on-one battles a little easier, even if it is on the NFL level.
The lack of "quick-twitch" seems to create this vision of him being Jeremy Mincey 2.0, but that is far from the truth. Contrary to popular opinion, he is an explosive athlete with a great deal of lateral quickness. He has a natural knee bend and very heavy hands to deliver a nice punch at the snap of the ball. I think there are going to be more than a few people that get surprised with his combine results in the agility drills.
The final piece of his game that should not be ignored is his football intelligence. He is extremely disciplined, diagnoses plays well and is rarely out of position. A player can't rack up 51 tackles for loss in three seasons by getting lucky enough to always be in the right place at the right time. That intelligence helps him to be effective on stunts and he has learned how to play inside as well as out and we know Marinelli loves versatile players. Bosa is a football player. He's tough, durable, and is a student of the game.
There is a reason he is ranked in the top five on nearly every draft board you see and number one overall on most. He's the real deal and to say he's not worthy of a top five pick borders on ridiculous. Would I want him over Jalen Ramsey? No. I really like Bosa, but Ramsey has special athleticism that make his ceiling higher than anyone else in this draft and really, higher than any prospect in quite some time. However, if he's not there when Dallas is on the clock, if the Boys can't find a trade partner, I'd be happy with the selection of Bosa. Would I want him over a quarterback? Well, that's a discussion for another post.