With the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select Ohio State DE Joey Bosa.
This is a curious pick, when you consider that Bosa may not be the best defensive lineman in this draft class, and he's a tweener for San Diego's 3–4 scheme. If he keeps his weight down and plays OLB, he's got average speed and will have to max out his technique. If he bulks up as a 3–4 end, that's a separate issue when it comes to his speed. The Chargers are clearly betting on Bosa's football intellect, but they may bump up against his low ceiling sooner rather than later. Think of Chris Long as a comparison—a really good run defender whose sack totals will be relatively low. DeForest Buckner does most of what the Chargers want better than Bosa does.
Strengths: Truly scheme-versatile player who could potentially excel as a base 4–3 or 3–4 endbacker with the ability to take snaps as a run-stopping tackle in certain packages. Active hands allow him to pull off blocks and move quickly to stop rushers in their tracks. Will stack-and-shed bigger blockers when he has the snap advantage. Has the athleticism to flare out into coverage in curl/flat responsibility and other short to intermediate schemes. When he beats his blocker off the snap, Bosa wins with body lean and quickness, making him very hard to deal with. As a run defender, deals well with slide protection and pinches inside with authority. Will use his long arms to punch blockers off their feet.
Persistent, scrappy player who will run as long as there’s a quarterback to chase. Brings a solid bull-rush to the field which could be added to with NFL conditioning. Strength really shows up when he gets to a blocker’s shoulder and pushes to the backfield. Has the ability to turn the corner on tackles very quickly and simply blow by them to the quarterback. Wrap tackler who maintains a constant competitive buzz on the field. Only 20 years old with tons of potential for improvement.
Weaknesses: At times, Bosa will come off the ball too high in his stance without a technique plan and get washed out of the play because of it. At his height, he will either need to focus on leverage or further develop his lower body to contend against the leverage monsters in the NFL. Needs to refine an inside counter to avoid wrestling and losing physical battles to tackles who outweigh him by 20 to 30 pounds. Will come off blocks too late, losing plays he should be able to make. Uses basic rip moves to get past blockers but needs to make this a habit with more power and technique. Needs to be more consistently quick off the snap without drawing offside calls—timing can be an issue. Will overrun plays at times when he gets too amped up. Has speed as a pass rusher around the arc, but doesn’t really bring “dip-and-rip” agility on an every-down basis. Bosa gets his pressures more from straight-line speed and will need to add more dimensions to his edge rush. Did the majority of his damage as a pass rusher against right tackles. Needs to be quicker and more accurate when shooting gaps.