After a storied college career at Ohio State, Joey Bosa's wait to join the professional ranks was brief during Thursday night's first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, as the San Diego Chargers selected the junior defensive end with the No. 3 overall pick.
During his final season with the Buckeyes, Bosa notched 16 tackles for loss for a defense that finished second in the nation in scoring defense, fourth in opponents' plays of 20 yards or more, and seventh in defensive S&P+ (adjusted scoring average). For his career, Bosa started 37 of 41 games, registered more tackles for loss than any other college player from 2013-15, and finished in the top five all-time at Ohio State in sacks, sack yardage, tackles for loss, and tackles for loss yardage.
Bosa, a consensus two-time All-American and the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, becomes the first Buckeyes' defensive lineman to be selected in the first round since Cameron Heyward was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 31st pick in the 2011 draft. The 6'5, 269-pound Bosa performed well in the NFL Combine's agility drills, finishing tied for first among defensive linemen in the 20-yard shuttle run and tallying a second-place finish in the 3 cone drill. Bosa drew acclaim for his overall strength, his active hands as a rusher (he forced five fumbles in college), and versatility to shuffle seamlessly between an effective run defender and a problematic pass rusher.
The J.J. Watt comparisons are lazy and unfair, but prudence suggests Bosa -- whose father, John, was taken 16th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1987 -- will be able to contribute (and perhaps start) from Day 1 in the NFL. Bosa may never be a Defensive Player of the Year, an All-Pro, or even Pro Bowler, but his talent for disruption and adaptable game should pave the way for a long and fruitful NFL career.