Chargers’ Joey Bosa deservedly wins NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Chargers DE Joey Bosa had one heck of a season, and the whole sports world realized it.

Joey Bosa was almost a forgotten man. A dominant defensive end for the Ohio State Buckeyes became an overlooked prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft. How? Being the “right” fit (for the Chargers) came into question, as was Bosa’s ceiling. That, and several other players, including quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, both of whom were part of trade deals, took over the spotlight.

But the Chargers didn’t fold; they always had the royal flush sitting on the table, and they waited until the very last second to reveal their hand. General manager Tom Telesco wanted “their guy” all along.

Bosa was taken No. 3 overall, and to say it was a surprise would be an understatement. Many fans were upset with the selection, already labeling Bosa a bust before he even stepped foot on the football field.

But I did my best to argue that Bosa was the right pick.

I will say this: Bosa is going to be a leader on defense, and a player the Chargers haven’t had since the beast that was Shawne Merriman. If that’s a player you don’t want, then I don’t know what to tell you.

It didn’t help that Bosa started off his NFL career in a stalemate with the Chargers. Both parties were to blame, but it wasn’t a good look for the rookie. The contract dispute carried all the way into the end of August, and Bosa’s absence likely led to a hamstring injury that kept him out for the first four games of the 2016 season.

Then it was finally time to look past all the turmoil and look toward Bosa’s debut against the Oakland Raiders–and what a debut it was. Bosa finished the game with five total tackles (three tackles for loss), two sacks and two quarterback hurries in limited snaps.

And from that day on, Bosa started to wreak havoc in the NFL.

Those stats tho…

RT to vote for @jbbigbear for #NFLROTY!

— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) January 26, 2017

According to Pro Football Focus, Bosa notched more pressures through his first 12 games than any player in the last 11 years. He ended up grading out as the fifth-best edge defender, per PFF.

In January, the 21-year-old was named Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). On Saturday, Bosa, who led all rookies in sacks, became the Associated Press (AP) NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, an honor that a Chargers rookie hasn’t received since LB Shawne Merriman in 2005. DE/LB Leslie O’Neal, the Chargers’ all-time leader in sacks (105.5), was also named DROY in 1986.

DROY Voting

Bosa: 37Ramsey: 10Deion Jones: 3

— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) February 5, 2017

Bosa deserves this honor. A good amount of fans weren’t on his side when the Chargers drafted him, but he proved critics wrong. He’s a franchise player and the centerpiece of this defense. His relentless motor, attitude and aggression are what the Chargers have been missing.

Good for Bosa and the Chargers.