The Chargers drafted their number 1 player on their board in Joey Bosa last night. My initial write-up on Bosa was evaluating him as an edge rusher. The Chargers have different thoughts on how to use him.
The #Chargers say Joey Bosa will play defensive end. Hmmm. Maybe something of a hybrid in a front that is constantly evolving.— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) April 29, 2016
Pre-draft projections for Joey Bosa were OLB if joined 3-4. Chargers envision him as DE, a 5-technique. Will move him around in sub-packages— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) April 29, 2016
Or is this a sign of a full-time shift in scheme?
Chargers say Joey Bosa is going to play DE, sign a nose tackle in Brandon Mebane from a 4-3 team. Maybe Chargers switching to 4-3?— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) April 29, 2016
Time will tell. I'm going to go with Gehlken on this and assume Bosa will be a defensive end in the 3-4. Many pundits think he's not a fit there due to his combine weight at 269 pounds, but the schools website had Bosa at 285 which would make even more sense for the Chargers to select him. He has the frame to add weight. So, can Bosa hold up as a true five technique in a 3-4 if he were to play inside? Let's look at some examples.
Technique over everything
The reason that Bosa has a good chance to hang inside isn't because his athleticism or strength. Though that certainly helps, it's because of his hand usage. For me, I gave him the highest grade for the "hand usage/placement" trait. His hands are so active, and it keeps the offensive lineman off balance.
Bosa hands pic.twitter.com/0wnrHSa8lC— KP (@KP_Show) April 29, 2016
Because he knows where to place his hands in the run game and keep himself clean as a pass rusher, there's no reason to think he won't get even better at the next level. He already understands the principle of the "1 arm is longer than 2" and has a rip and an arm over in his back pocket.
Quickness to embarrass guards
It's one thing to have an arsenal of pass rush moves. It's another thing to have an arsenal of pass rush moves while being quick off of the snap. Bosa's go to was his "rip" move when he rushed from the edge. When he kicked inside, he had an arm over that would leave guards looking at their feet in a matter of seconds.
Arm over inside pic.twitter.com/x4ARUa65ZH— KP (@KP_Show) April 29, 2016
The second example is the same situation. 3rd and long where Bosa has kicked inside as a defensive tackle and is isolated 1-on-1. This is where San Diego desperately needs a player that can win. Bosa has shown he can do that. More importantly, Bosa is winning inside with no wasted movement. That's huge. Winning instantly off the snap when you have two speed rushers off the edge is quite the combination.
Holding up at the point of attack
It's not always going to be 3rd and long where Bosa can just pin his ears back and get after the QB. There are times where he's going to have to hold up against double teams and not get moved. The 1st example below is a good example of Bosa fighting, fighting, and finally winning to come up with a stop.
Holding at the POA vs 2 1st rounders pic.twitter.com/eUBKBda35f— KP (@KP_Show) April 29, 2016
That's the type of strength he has. But more than that, that's the type of try-hard he is. To make this more impressive, that was against two 1st rounders. I imagine Telesco saw that against Ronnie Stanley and wasn't able to stand up for at least 20 more minutes.
The next example Bosa starts out on the edge, but as he slants down, he ends up having the same responsibilities as he would as a 3-4 end.
What I like here is how he locates the ball and finishes. What's important here is that he has the strength to hold at the point of attack even though he's likely outweighed by 20-30 pounds. Bosa's strength trumps his size in every aspect. It's really not an issue for me and never was.
If they do think Bosa is an ideal fit inside then the Chargers got better last night. You really can't ask for much more than that. Bosa's 1st step is below average, but he wins so quickly inside that it isn't really an issue. His strength, leverage, hand usage/placement, and positional flexibility gives San Diego a weapon that they just do not have on the front four right now. Imagine on 3rd down with Ingram, Bosa, Liuget, and Attaochu. If 1 of the edge guys needs a break Bosa is more than capable to rush from the edge.
I wouldn't get too caught up in a 4-3/3-4 fit. This is a prime example of a team taking their best player and putting him on the field. I said I want "safe and spectacular" at 3 and Bosa is more "safe." That said, this kid is 20 years old. The future is bright for him and the Chargers.