A down year apparently didn’t do a dang thing to Joey Bosa’s respect from those around the NFL.
After dealing with a plethora of injuries in 2020, the Big Bear still managed to finish with 7.5 sack and 15 tackles for loss in 10 starts while playing sparingly in two others. Despite failing to notch double-digit quarterback takedowns, Bosa was still ranked as the third-best edge rusher in the NFL behind the likes of Myles Garrett (12 sacks in 2020) and T.J. Watt, who led the league with 15 takedowns a year ago.
The list, which was done at ESPN, surveyed over 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players in order to find the top 10 or 11 players at each position.
Here’s what author of the list, Jeremy Fowler, had to say about Bosa’s consensus ranking:
“Pass-rush purists love Bosa, and that showed in the voting. Some who preferred singular athletes such as Garrett were a bit lower on Bosa, while those who prioritize technique love him.”
“‘Best technician in the NFL — great short-area speed, best hands,’ one NFL personnel evaluator said.”
“The game’s highest-paid pass-rusher at $27.5 million per year, Bosa had another tremendous season, putting up a 24.9% pass-rush win rate (fifth in the league). He created 26 incompletions, fourth best among edge rushers, though he didn’t match his peers in double-team effectiveness (five wins on 64 attempts, 7.8%).”
“‘He’s a load,’ an NFL veteran offensive lineman told me. ‘His ability to create leverage makes for a long day.’”
Heading into his sixth season, Bosa has career-highs of 12.5 sacks (2017) and 18 tackles for loss (2019). That sack total is still a bit underwhelming to some pundits and that’s why there are still some who only look at the stat sheet to decide who is or is not a good player. But when it comes to the advanced analytics such as pass-rush win rate, double-team rate, and expected sack totals, Bosa ranks among the best of the best. According to PFF, Bosa led all edge rushers in the league with a 23.8% pass-rush win rate despite having little to no help in terrorizing opposing offensive lines.
I truly think Bosa is one of the rare cases where he’s a whole lot better when you rely on the film over whatever the box score says. He’s had some rough luck when it comes to injuries thus far in his career but I can’t help but feel like the arrival of Brandon Staley is about to take his game to a whole other level in 2021.