Supply Lines – Ohio State Edge Defenders by Lee Wakefield

Welcome back to Supply Lines, in this episode I’ll be looking at Ohio State edge defenders, l  will also be taking a little bit of a different approach with this one. In previous weeks, I’ve been looking at the consistent supply of talent from a certain school, over a longer period of time, usually the past decade or so.

In this episode, however, I’m going to examine a much smaller period of time, I’m only going from 2016 to now. The reason for that is that Ohio State are more than likely going to have yet another edge defender selected in the top 5 of the draft, when Chase Young hears his name called in the 2020 draft.

Yes, that isn’t going to be until April 23rd 2020 but this isn’t a hot take; Chase Young is stupid good and I’d be willing to stake a fair amount of cash in that happening and I’d feel pretty good about it.

With this is mind, I’m going to be looking at those top 5 picks – The Big Bear, Joey Bosa, the Small Bear, Nick Bosa and the Predator, Chase Young.

However, before I begin, in the spirit of the supply line, I will also mention that in this timeframe, Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard also entered the NFL as Ohio State edge rushers, in the second and third rounds, as well as Jalyn Holmes in the 4th round of the 2018 draft.

How do these players differ and what has made them all so good? Let’s start with Joey Bosa.

Joey is the eldest son of John and Cheryl Bosa. John Bosa also played in the NFL and was also drafted in the first round – He was drafted by the Dolphins with the 16th overall pick of the 1987 draft as a defensive end out of Boston College.

With this in mind, Joey was essentially on the path of being an NFL player from the day he was born. Joey attended high school football powerhouse, St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was part of a state championship winning team in 2012.

During his time in high school, Bosa was a man amongst boys when playing on the defensive line; he was just bigger, faster, stronger and more technically proficient than everyone he faced. It was and still is the last item on that list that makes him stand out to this day, his technical proficiency.

Bosa’s hand usage and arsenal of pass rush moves and counter moves is what makes him one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, it’s his calling card.

It was at Ohio State that Bosa developed from the guy who was just bigger and better, into a technician.

One handed club, two handed club, push-pull, jab-swipe and even the odd inside spin move… the Big Bear had a full bag of tricks to delve into and from his freshman season in Columbus, he was terrorising opposing QB’s to the tune of 26 sacks in 3 seasons. It hasn’t slowed down in the NFL either… Since being drafted 3rd overall by the Chargers in 2016, Bosa has registered 28.5 sacks in 35 games.

When Joey departed for California, the buckeyes didn’t suffer too much, though. They had another player step in right away, a certain freshman, who also wore #97, just like his Dad did… Nick Bosa.

Nick had also attended St. Thomas Aquinas, and just like his big brother, he also won a state championship with the Raiders… He was also the best player on the field in all of his games and committed to Ohio State to follow in the footsteps of his older brother.

How do the two brothers compare?

Well, neither of them are top echelon athletes in terms of explosivity and whilst they have ideal height/weight combinations for the position, neither have ideal arm length when compared to elite NFL edge defenders.

However, both have success and will continue to have success due to being more technically advanced with their hand placement, leverage and speed to power conversion. Just as Joey did and still does, Nick struggles with long armed offensive tackles, even if they aren’t in the same calibre of player as he is because it’s a simple case of being anatomically disadvantaged – Essentially, tackles were, at times, able to just keep him at arm’s length… like you used to with your younger siblings as kids.

Nick didn’t quite put up the sack numbers that Joey did at Ohio State but he also only played 3 games in his final season due to a core injury, so clearly both had success and were able to overcome their issues. Injuries, I guess you could say there’s another similarity between the two brothers considering Nick may be in line to miss the whole preseason with an ankle injury – Joey missed the whole of his first preseason with a hamstring injury (although he was holding out of signing his rookie contract too, so wouldn’t have played anyway).

Joey and Nick are very much cut from the same cloth and I see them having similar floor, ceilings and trajectories in the NFL, because they’re very similar in build and playing style. One aspect of their games that I’ve not mentioned is that outside of pass rushing, both Bosas are very skilled and disciplined edge setters, they’re not just pure pass rushers who are good for nothing but teeing off towards the QB each and every snap.

Moving on to The Predator.

I mean, is that not the coolest nickname for a quarterback hunting edge defender?

Young as the dreadlocks and the laser-like focus, and at times the way the breezes past offensive tackles, I think he’s got the camouflage ability of The Predator.

Young is a little bit different to the Bosa brothers, Young is a hyper-twitched athlete, who is explosive in his first step and can beat a tackle to the corner and turn it, in order to make his path the QB a shorter one.

The trio do possess many similarities too; they all convert speed to power with ease, they all have ideal height/weight combinations for the position and they all have a good array for pass rush moves to work with, although Young is behind both Bosas on this score.

Young was due to play with Nick Bosa at Ohio State this past season but due to Nick’s aforementioned core injury, that partnership was ended after just 3 games but my, oh my, was it fun while it lasted?

It was almost like a race at time between #2 and #97 and it wasn’t a case of if the QB was going to get hit, it was a case of who was going to make it to him first.

Now it’s Young’s show and I can’t wait to see the progress he’s going to make in his Junior year and see if he can improve on his 9.5 sacks from last year but most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing if he has added to his repertoire as a pass rusher and become a more all round player.

I already have Young down as my Edge1 heading into the upcoming college football season and although AJ Epenesa may have something to say about this, I feel Young is in a great position to be the first edge off the board next April. If this does in fact come to fruition, he’ll surely be another top 5 Ohio State pass rusher since 2016 and that about as high quality of a Supply Line as I’ve spoken about this summer.

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