Chargers DE Joey Bosa a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year
By Matt Pagels
Chargers’ Joey Bosa is already one of the best defenders in the entire NFL, and he has a chance to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2018.
It was just two years ago that Joey Bosa was drafted No. 3 overall by the Chargers.
Many fans questioned general manager Tom Telesco’s selection not because of Bosa’s talent, but because of the scheme fit. It didn’t help that Bosa and the Chargers were part of a lengthy contract dispute, causing the first-rounder to miss all of training camp. Bosa also missed the first four games of the season after dealing with a hamstring injury.
Yeah, not a good start.
But when Bosa stepped onto the field, he showed why he was picked in the top five. He sacked Raiders QB Derek Carr twice in his 2016 season debut. He was disruptive, finishing with 10.5 sacks in 12 games and earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
A year later, Bosa continued to dominate. The Ohio State product finished with 70 total tackles, including 11 for loss, and had the seventh-most sacks (12.5) and forced the fourth-most fumbles (four) among all defenders. He was named a Pro Bowler for his performance. He even set the record for the most sacks through his first 20 games as a pro.
Bosa is one of the best technicians in the game. His power, aggressiveness and high motor make him that much more deadly. Not only is he skilled at what he does, but he makes his teammates around him better. Melvin Ingram, a first-round pick by the Chargers in 2012, never had a partner-in-crime to help alleviate the pressure. With Bosa on the other side, Ingram amassed 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons. And according to Pro Football Focus, no pass-rush duo had more total pressures in 2017 than Bosa and Ingram.
Bosa is only 22 years old, which is crazy. He’s already one of the top defensive ends in the league. NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus predicted every team’s MVP for the upcoming season, and Hanzus had Bosa picked for the Chargers.
But I believe Bosa will be much more than the Chargers’ MVP. I believe he can win NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. A defensive lineman has won the award five times in the last six years, with linebacker Luke Kuechly being the only exception (2013). Aaron Donald was named DPOY last year, Khalil Mack won it the year before and J.J. Watt secured it three times prior (2015, 2014, 2012).
Bosa has good odds. He’s a rising star in this league and everyone knows what he’s capable of. The Chargers need to win football games and make the playoffs, which will give the team more exposure and help Bosa win. Donald and Mack are elite players, but they won the award when both of their respective teams made noise.
And the Chargers have the chance to be a dominant football team in 2018. They have a great offense led by Philip Rivers, and their defense is on its way to being a top-five unit if healthy. It’s the most complete roster I’ve seen since the 2006 days.
Hopefully, Bosa and the Chargers put everything together for what should be an exciting season.