Is Chargers’ Bosa the front-runner for NFL Defensive Player of the Year?
By Matt Pagels
Los Angeles Chargers DE Joey Bosa has taken the Chargers’ defense to another level. If he keeps it up, Bosa has a good chance at winning Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Joey Bosa has been a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Bosa, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has 10.5 sacks, including at least one sack in six consecutive games, 41 combined tackles and one forced fumble through 11 weeks of the 2017 season. Bosa set an NFL record when he recorded his 19th career sack through the first 20 games as a pro.
Can Bosa, who was the 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, become the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the year?
According to Pro Football Focus’ Nathan Jahnke, Bosa has been on a tear since Week 5.
Joey Bosa since Week 5:212 pass rushes8 sacks(most for 4-3 DEs)8 hits28 hurries(most for 4-3 DEs)16.5 pass rushing productivity(best for 4-3 DEs)
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) November 20, 2017
The former Ohio State Buckeye is currently PFF’s No. 2 edge defender behind only Broncos’ Von Miller. Bosa also ranks first in QB pressures among edge defenders. Melvin Ingram, Bosa’s partner-in-crime, ranks second in that respective category.
Let’s move on from the actual numbers. If you watch the tape, you’ll notice that Bosa is unblockable. He’s been thriving in Gus Bradley’s 4-3 scheme. He’s an elite technician whose high motor and relentless help him succeed not only in the passing game, but against the run as well.
We all know statistics aren’t everything. Even though Bosa ranks third in the NFL in sacks, his ability to disrupt a play and force turnovers, especially when the Chargers need a big defensive stop, is something special. It’s something few players can do at a consistent level.
Look at what Bosa did against the Buffalo Bills..
Peterman threw 5 INTs. Joey Bosa crushed him on 4 of them. #BUFvsLAC pic.twitter.com/uveM3L1nhB
— Josh Cohen (@jco3215) November 21, 2017
I get it: The Bills aren’t that good. But Bosa has been doing this all year long against better teams, too. The 22-year-old (he’s only 22?!) has played a big role in the Chargers winning four of their last six games.
However, Bosa has a ton of competition, including Jaguars DL Calais Campbell, Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey, Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence, Rams DT Aaron Donald, Vikings DE Everson Griffen, Eagles DT Fletcher Cox, Saints CB Marshon Lattimore, Broncos LB Von Miller and Steelers DE Cameron Heyward. You can also make a solid case for Melvin Ingram, who has put on a show alongside Bosa. The last three players to win this award were edge defenders/linemen (Raiders’ Khalil Mack in 2016 and Texans’ J.J. Watt in 2014-15).
Bosa is elite, and his play has impacted his defensive teammates in a huge way. What more can you ask for?