NAME: Nick Bosa
SCHOOL: Ohio State
JERSEY: No. 97
RECRUITMENT RATING: 5-Star
First Step Quickness – Has effective burst in short spaces, consistently pressuring the outside on slow footed or sloppy OTs. Explosiveness stands out most on obvious passing down/distances. Will eat up a lot of space on initial three steps to force a premature hinge and isolate OTs in rush.
Hand Technique/Length – Masterful ability to discard the hands of would-be blockers. Has the needed pinpoint accuracy to slap through the wrist or elbow and knows how to use leverage and momentum to pop loose a hand fit off of his chest. Follows through with limb to ensure no reset by blocker is clean.
Pass Rush Counters – Is lethal when working back inside to turn up into the pocket and flatten to challenge vs. over-setting OL. Has won with push/pull, chop/club, inside swim move, speed rush and by converting speed to power. Has no shortage of counters and knows how and when to implement.
Flexibility – Torso mobility is among the best in the class. Ability to open the shoulders, diminish surface area and carry speed through corners is excellent. Pliable frame allows for optimal rush counter finishes. Has little issue with working through tight spaces as a result.
Run Defending – Processing and reactive quickness vs. drive blocks is tremendous. Ability to step into pulling OL and quickly set hands allows for effective setting of the edge and forcing the ball back into pursuit. Stout LOS defender who is wins through stacking blocks and in penetration reps.
Competitive Toughness – Consistently plays on the offensive side of the line of scrimmage, rarely uprooted when playing to anchor vs. blocks. Awareness as a rusher allows for extra effort once passer is flushed into a pursuit angle. Can be found down the field pursuing the football on plays breaking LOS.
Tackling – Stout wrap up tackler. Shows effective skill in disengaging from blocks late and contorting his wingspan to get a wrap up on the ball carrier, even if losing balance or dropping to the ground. Does not give up ground in head-up tackle attempts. Explosive hitting power.
Lateral Mobility – Lateral skills shine brightest when gearing down to corner and pivot back from over-pursuing the pocket. Can give up the edge in head up tackle opportunities vs. shifty ball carriers but takes good angles to prevent poor reps. Sudden doubling back across face of blockers.
Stand Up Ability – Has been offered intermittent opportunities to stand up and rush from a two-point stance. Wouldn’t recommend playing out in space as a coverage option, although could be given creative reps to spy quarterbacks or drop off the edge to take away a quick slant.
Football IQ – Polish is present for an immediate impact at the NFL level. Wins with fundamentals and with athletic ability. Heady player who offers multiple layers to pass rush plan and rarely gets caught without a secondary counter ready to beat blockers.
BEST TRAIT – Hand Technique
WORST TRAIT – Stand-Up Ability
BEST FILM – Wisconsin (2017)
WORST FILM – Michigan (2017)
RED FLAGS – 2018 abdominal/core injury
EDGE Nick Bosa projects as a high impact 3-point stance rusher from day one. Offering versatility to play in nearly any scheme/front, Bosa is a universal blue chip prospect who can be moved along the line of scrimmage at the leisure of down/distance and at the will of his coaches. An ideal role would feature interior reps for penetration skills and maximize mismatch opportunities.
Run Defense – Sets a consistently firm edge and plays with outstanding leverage. Locates the football and sheds blocks to routinely make plays near the line of scrimmage. Maintains his run fits at a high level and keeps outside leverage. Outstanding in backside pursuit. Has the ability to slash through gaps when slanting inside. Stout and productive.
Pass Rush – Special. Explosive out of his stance and gains substantial depth with his first step. Effectively reads the set of the offensive tackle and knows how to exploit. Highly effective at clearing his hands and diminishing his surface area. Has the flexibility to win around the outside hip of the offensive tackle. Showcases tremendous variety in his pass rush moves and always has a plan. Converts speed to power extremely well while showcasing plenty of counters and inside moves. Good twitch in the upper half.
Burst – Smooth and explosive out of his stance and gains considerable depth in his first three steps. Will occasionally mistime the snap and be a touch behind. Doesn’t have elite burst out of his stance but its still outstanding.
Effort – Plays with a high level of urgency and an unrelenting motor. His effort is never in question. Effective in backside pursuit and finds his way to the football. Fires out of his stance with leverage and tenacity. Never content being blocked and battles throughout every snap.
Hand Technique – Illustrates a wide range of techniques to keep his pads clear and soften angles to play through blocks. Executes moves with excellent timing in relationship to the blocker to win reps. Routinely controls reps because of his violent and aggressive hands. Clears his pads at an elite level.
Flexibility – Has the requisite flexibility to corner and beat offensive tackles around their outside hip. Exceptional ability to reduce his surface area and he’s super twitchy in the upper half. Not super bendy with his hips but its a minor, minor gripe.
Processing – Football IQ is obvious. Plays with tremendous technique and play diagnosing skills. Understands how to counter and combat blocks. Finds the football with regularity. Reads the offensive tackles supremely well.
Play Strength – Has no issues exchanging power with offensive tackles and even taking on multiple blockers on a given rep. Exceptional strength in the lower half to anchor and squeeze gaps. Converts speed to power extremely well and plays through contact. Outstanding finishing power.
Versatility – Ideally suited to function as a 4-3 defensive end but can occasionally work from a stand up position. Has playmaking upside against the run and pass.
BEST TRAIT – Hand Technique
WORST TRAIT – None
RED FLAGS – Season-ending core injury in 2018
Bosa projects most favorably to playing defensive end in an even front with upside to immediately become a high impact playmaker. He offers a polished pass rushing skill set, exceptional processing skills, outstanding play strength and the athleticism to be a game-changing edge defender in the NFL. By year three, Bosa has the upside to be one of the NFL’s most valuable and dynamic defensive playmakers.
Burst – Impressive first step burst with low pad level to remain aerodynamic up the arc. Stride lengths are eye-popping, gains ground in a hurry and can get to top speed quickly. At times is a tad late off the ball, can do a better job of timing up the cadence more consistently. Sudden mover who can alter his path quickly without losing speed.
Bend – Not a hip-bender like Myles Garrett, but has shown the ability to duck under punches while maintaining his speed up the arc. Tilts the edge with awesome ankle flexibility, powering through contact to trim tight angles to the pocket. Negates lack of elite hip bend by getting feet and hips consistently pointed toward the pocket early, creating favorable angles to the quarterback.
Rush Moves – Ridiculous repertoire of moves, including cross-chops, clubs, 2-hand swats, bull rushes, inside swims, push-pulls and rips. Only move I’d like to see more of is the long arm given how devastating it could be for Bosa. Initiates contact consistently and is always working a plan of attack. Incredible ability to absorb contact, hand-fight through it and continue undeterred up the arc.
Counters – Seems to be getting better in this area, although so infrequently had his initial move stymied that he rarely had to counter. Outstanding at recognizing oversets and taking inside paths to the quarterback when available. Quickly and readily alters his path on the move, has flashed a spin move to work back inside or outside that will come in handy in the NFL.
Run Defense – Fires off the ball with both hands inside his opponent, showing good pad level and technique. Can do a better job of maintaining full arm extension to lock out the edge. Recognizing blocking schemes is a work in progress. Has the power and tenacity to toss blockers aside and does so frequently. May get knocked back a half-step initially, but almost always wins the exchange in a timely fashion to control his gap. Range and hustle are excellent.
Lateral Mobility – Stutter-steps to manipulate pass sets are a thing of beauty. Can start on the outside shoulder of the tackle and cross his face so fast the guard can’t even get over to help in time. Not a ton of examples of playing in space, but seems to move laterally at a high level and has little issue changing direction.
Mental Processing/Vision – Reads pass sets well and understands how to attack his opponent. Finds blocker’s hands and compromises them. Good job of stepping down when unblocked off the line of scrimmage. Can get too deep at times when teeing off, widening his gap and allowing himself to be sealed off from runs inside of him.
Tackling/Finishing – Like his brother, will occasionally lose his balance while attempting to finish, a weird mini-tendency that I haven’t noticed in many rushers outside of he and Joey (more frequent with Joey). As a tackler, unbelievable grip strength and radius to consistently get opponents on the ground. Would like to see him target the ball a little more during sacks in the NFL.
Competitive Toughness – Ultra-physical and consistently hustling when on the field. Doesn’t take plays off and appears to be in unbelievable physical condition.
Athleticism/Size – Elite size, length, muscle distribution and athleticism.
BEST TRAIT – Rush Moves
WORST TRAIT – Balance
RED FLAGS – Season-ending core injury in 2018
Perhaps the phrase “can’t miss prospect” is an overused one that should be thrown out, but if we were to use it, Nick Bosa makes sense as the subject. All the physical traits are there to succeed as well as the athletic ones, and his polish and pass rush repertoire is rare for a player straight out of college. To see how he stacks up against recent elite edge defender prospects, check out the trait-by-trait comparison I did mid-December. Bosa should be the first or second non-quarterback off the board and has All-Pro potential early in his career.