The offseason is filled with numerous rankings of every shape and size. If there’s a topic within the realm of football that someone can put it any kind of order from best to worst, they’re going to do it.
Every year, just before training camp gets underway, ESPN surveys a large group of NFL executives, coaches, and players to devise top-10 rankings for each position across the league.
Over the weekend, the rankings dropped for both off-ball linebackers and defensive tackles. Unfortunately, zero Chargers were named to either of the lists, which included not only the top 10 players, but honorable mention selections and several others that earned at least one vote.
In Monday’s set of rankings where those surveyed ranked their top 10 edge rushers, a Chargers player finally landed on their rankings as Joey Bosa came in at #10. For some extra context, Bosa’s highest ranking voted on was fifth and his lowest came as an unranked player. The 27-year old unsurprisingly stumbled from fourth a year ago following an injury-plagued 2022 campaign.
“A top-five fixture for years, Bosa is another edge rusher who slipped due to injury,” says NFL analyst Jeremy Fowler. “A groin tear that required surgery cost him most of last season. He finished with 2.5 sacks in a season punctuated with a costly helmet-throwing penalty in a playoff loss to Jacksonville.”
“Bosa has long set a standard for technician-type edge rushing, attention to detail and ideal length to fluster offensive tackles. But the production — 60.5 sacks in seven seasons — doesn’t match many of his elite peers.”
According to Fowler, a NFL personnel evaluator said in his survey that Bosa has “been really good for a long time at the art of knowing how to beat your opponent” but he wonders if the years are finally beginning to take their toll on the Big Bear.
However, another team’s personnel director had a bit more to say in the way of praise for Bosa, calling him a “game-plan-type player” that opposing teams must plan for specifically if they wish to be successful against the Chargers.
“Not as disruptive as his brother [Nick Bosa] but still super talented.”
In all honesty, I was actually a bit surprised that Bosa found a way to hang on to a spot amongst the top 10. These lists usually don’t go well for players coming off serious injuries as recency bias is a hell of a drug in the NFL. But somehow, some way, the respect for Bosa and his technician-style of play have continued to garner widespread respect from his peers. Fowler is correct to note that Bosa’s numbers aren’t what many would expect from a top-tier pass rusher, but it should always come down to the opinions of those who are in the thick of the game and that means the thoughts and feelings of coaches and players, alike, should hold the most weight.
As of this moment, Bosa still looms large in the NFL.