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Cowboys 2016 Draft: What About Joey Bosa?

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The Ohio Sate prospect was once the consensus #1 player for the 2016 draft.

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

On this site, we've discussed many options for the Dallas Cowboys at the number four pick. It seems to mostly center around two strategies, draft a quarterback who will be the franchise's future at the position after Tony Romo, or get an impact defensive player like Myles Jack or Jalen Ramsey. There have been other suggestions but something that hasn't picked up as much steam as would be expected is the idea of drafting Joey Bosa. Given that one of the Cowboys biggest needs is along the defensive line and that it wasn't too long ago that Bosa was considered by many to be the top pick of the entire draft, drafting him would seem to make sense. CBS Sport's Big Board still lists him as their top prospect.

I'm not suggesting no one has linked the Cowboys with Bosa (it's happening in our own FanPosts) and I've seen some mock drafts with that pick, too. But given the Cowboys desperate need along the defensive line, including defensive end, "Bosa to Dallas" should have a lot of support from fans and pundits alike. It's also the case that he's been mocked to the Chargers one spot ahead of Dallas, so some people may thing he just won't get down to number four. Still, it's pretty easy to concoct scenarios where he would be available at the number four spot. So I wanted to look at his scouting reports and tape further to see if the fanbase should be more excited about the prospect of Bosa.

A few things that have been working against Bosa.

1. His suspension for Ohio State's opening game in 2015. He nor the school have discussed it publicly, but he will be discussing it with individual teams at the combine.

2. This is probably more important, after stellar freshman and sophomore seasons, his stats trailed off badly in his junior year with only five sacks on the season. Plus, he spent most of his career on the left side facing right tackles, instead of the traditional right side facing left tackles.

3. He's not a speed rusher who can bend like a DeMarcus Ware or a Von Miller. He's a power guy and that might be an issue at the pro level. When teams spend a very high draft pick on a pass rusher, they like a guy with speed, bend and an array of moves. That's not Bosa.

So what is Bosa's game?

I spent the afternoon looking at Bosa's tape over at Draft Breakdown. I watched games against good competition and bad competition. I watched games from his sophomore year and his junior year. Here is what I came away with.

1. Bosa has great power and is excellent at using his hands. He can crumple an offensive tackle or bull-rush him into the quarterback. He likes to attack the outside edge of the tackle and bring his power to bear and knock him off balance and then get around him. He does have an inside "up and under" move that he also uses, and he is pretty adept at making that work.

2. He's not stiff, he plays with good flexibility but he doesn't have the first-step burst you'd like to see and he doesn't have the "bend" most elite pass rushers have, beating the tackle around the edge is not his game.

3. He's an intelligent player who doesn't often blow his assignment freelancing around. He can diagnose a run, pass, screen or other type of play quickly and make his adjustment.

4. He almost never gets blown of the ball. Even when getting double-teamed he can hold his spot, and more often than not he is not merely holding his ground but pushing a blocker backward. Again, he's a powerful presence on the line.

5. He can hesitate at the line while diagnosing a play, he doesn't always fire out and make contact with the opposition. It's fundamentally sound, but can cause fewer sacks by not taking chances.

In my opinion, if you're drafting Bosa, you are drafting him to mainly play left end and while he's not going to blow you away with sack numbers, he will be a force in the run game and he will be disruptive in the backfield by pushing offensive linemen backward. He would be a great guy to work a stunt with, and he's actually pretty good at playing the 3-tech. He was versatile at Ohio State, lining up on the left, the right, at the 3-tech and even standing up occasionally in a hybrid linebacker role.

What are others saying?

Once I was done evaluating Bosa, I wanted to see what others were saying about him. So here a few snippets of reviews, you can click over to read the whole thing.

Joey Bosa Draft Profile – NFL.com
Has booming power in his hands. Uses arm extension and forward lean as his primary weapon. Generates speed-­to-­power bullrush and plays off of that with a punch and pull technique that pulls tackles off-­balance. Focuses pass rush attack on outside shoulder of tackle using forward lean and aggressive hand play. Active hands can completely wipe out a tackle’s weak outside hand allowing him to cave-­in the edge. Usually gets hands on defender first. Able to stack and slide along line of scrimmage in pursuit of ball­-carrier. Strong core and able to rag­ doll tight ends who aren’t committed to the fight. Bosa might be at his best with a defensive coordinator willing to move him around the field.

WalterFootball.com: 2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Joey Bosa
Bosa's best fit would come as a base end in a 4-3 defense. He could move back and forth between right and left end. Bosa also could rush from the inside in passing situations. He could fit in a 3-4 as an outside linebacker, but would need more development to stand up and play in space. He has shown some skill at dropping into coverage, but didn't do it much in college. For the 2016 NFL Draft, Bosa is a top-10 pick barring an injury or getting in trouble before the draft. Sources have said that he's a good player, but feel the national media has overrated him. They don't think he's No. 1-overall talent. Teams say that in a good draft, like the 2014 class, he would have gone in the No. 5-7 range. In a weak class, he could go in the top four. Teams believe that if Bosa could have entered the 2015 NFL Draft, he would have gone third overall to the Jaguars instead of Dante Fowler Jr.

Pro Football Focus

Stats to know:
No. 1-ranked edge defender (including No. 1 pass-rush grade, No. 1 run-defense grade), 70 total pressures (third-most among edge defenders). Ranked second in pass rush productivity in 2015.

What he does best:
• Productive pass rusher: No. 1 in the nation in 2014 among edge defenders, No. 2 in 2015.
• Wins with his hands as a pass rusher, enabling him to win inside or out. Has the power to bull rush, but hasn't shown it often.
• While he did most of his damage rushing against lesser right tackles, was still a very efficient pass rusher against left tackles as well.
• Only six of his 70 pressures came unblocked in 2015. Had to earn them.
• Strong run defender: No. 1 in the nation among edge defenders in both 2014 and 2015
• Defeats blocks with strength and hands. Dominates tight ends in the running game and handles most offensive tackles.
• Sets a hard edge in the running game. Rarely sealed or taken out of a play. Knows how to take on blockers to set up his teammates.

I've seen his comparisons listed as Jared Allen, Michael Bennett and Ryan Kerrigan.

So what say you BTB, would you take Joey Bosa at number four?