Yahoo Sports' top 2019 NFL draft prospects, No 2. Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa

Yahoo Sports

Leading up to the 2019 NFL draft, which starts April 25, Yahoo Sports will count down our top 100 overall prospects. We’ll count them down 10 at a time, followed by profiles on our top 30 overall players.

Previous entries: Nos. 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30. Drew Lock | 29. Deandre Baker | 28. Taylor Rapp | 27. Garrett Bradbury | 26. Dexter Lawrence | 25. Jerry Tillery | 24. Josh Jacobs | 23. Christian Wilkins | 22. Cody Ford | 21. Noah Fant | 20. Andre Dillard | 19. Greedy Williams | 18. Dwayne Haskins | 17. Rashan Gary | 16. D.K. Metcalf | 15. Clelin Ferrell | 14. Jawaan Taylor | 13. Byron Murphy | 12. Jonah Williams | 11. Devin White | 10. Kyler Murray | 9. Devin Bush Jr. | 8. Montez Sweat | 7. T.J. Hockenson | 6. Ed Oliver | 5. Josh Allen | 4. Brian Burns | 3. Jeffery Simmons

2. Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa

6-foot-4, 266 pounds

Key stat: Joey and Nick Bosa had remarkably similar statistics at OSU, with each playing 30 games. Joey had 34.5 tackles for loss, Nick had 29; Joey had 21 sacks, Nick had 17.5. But Nick Bosa played more than 600 fewer snaps than Joey did during his Buckeyes career.

The skinny: Nicholas “Nick” Bosa came from a football-steeped family and emerged as a five-star (and top-25) Rivals recruit as a four-year starter out of Ohio power St. Thomas Aquinas, helping lead the team to three state titles. The Buckeyes landed Bosa, who suffered a slight ACL tear in November his senior season of high school but was able to contribute readily as a freshman in 2016. In 13 games, he collected 29 tackles (seven for loss) and five sacks, which ranked second on the talented Buckeyes that year.

In 2017, Bosa broke out in a big way with 34 tackles (16 for loss), nine sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games (four starts), being named Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and first-team all-conference selection. Bosa even entered the 2018 season with deserved Heisman Trophy hype, and his first three games – despite sitting out the second halves of two blowouts and getting hurt in the third game – backed that talk up. He collected 14 tackles (six for loss), four sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. But Bosa suffered a core muscle injury against TCU in Week 3, which ended his season prematurely.

Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa at the NFL scouting combine. (AP Photo)
Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa at the NFL scouting combine. (AP Photo)

Bosa, who turns 22 years old in October, opted to declare for the 2019 NFL draft and spend the remainder of last season rehabbing the injury. He participated in every drill at the NFL scouting combine except for the 60-yard shuttle, and Bosa chose to stand on his combine numbers at Ohio State’s pro day.

Upside: Great frame and athletic profile for the edge-rush spot – looks like he was born for the role. Chiseled physique with no extra mass – well-defined, with excellent core strength and flexibility. Huge hands and great hand strength. Combine workout put him in the upper percentiles, especially in a blistering time of 4.14 seconds on his 20-yard shuttle. Strong production in the backfield – 29 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks in 30 career games. Hard to find a game where he’s not contributing notably in some fashion – seemed to make a big play in every game each of the past two seasons.

Pass-rush artist who has advanced technique and a lot of tricks in his bag. Can win with power – has a strong speed bull rush (think of James Harrison’s go-to move) where he can flatten down the line in a hurry and overwhelm tackles. Can also win with quickness and finesse and has some of the best hand-fighting skills in this year’s class. Advanced technician who can swat away blocks quickly and disengage. Really good first step and a good (not great) edge bender who can run the arc and close fast.

Carries enough potential to be tried as an interior rush threat on passing downs, with enough quickness and handwork to beat interior blockers. Good speed-to-power conversion and absurd change-of-direction skills and flexibility for a 260-pounder. Very good against the run, with the ability to stack and shed blocks and also work laterally to funnel things back inside. Great pursuit ability and finds the ball fast. Plays with good pad level and stays low. Has rushed from both sides and has almost equal production per snap.

Aggressive, hard-nosed player. Has been labeled “pretty” by some who see his ease of movement, but there’s violence in his game. Not afraid to mix it up and handle the blue-collar work. Weight-room junkie who has football in his blood. Faced unrealistic expectations following in his brother’s shadow at Ohio State and lived up to the hype. Well-liked and respected inside the program. Worked closely with one of the best DL gurus in the game, position coach Larry Johnson.

Downside: Inexperienced – only 30 career games (10 starts) and fewer than 1,200 college snaps. Hasn’t been a turnover-maker – two forced fumbles, three recoveries, zero interceptions and only a handful of batted passes. Injury history dates back to high school with ACL tear, along with core injury in 2018 (and older brother Joey has an injury history, too, if you believe there’s anything to that). Some teams frowned on Bosa sitting out the remainder of the season (for a top-five team with title aspirations at the time) with an injury that only took weeks to rehab from, although that’s the nature of the game these days.

Lacks elite length and girth, and his frame might be close to maxed out, which begs the question of whether he will make any great strides in the NFL – might be close to as good as he’ll be now. Snap guesser who, while good at it, could fall victim to the Aaron Rodgers of the world with an excellent hard count. Has been smashed by a few tight-end wham blocks – doesn’t always play with his head on a swivel and might lack elite peripheral vision or great field awareness. Not a liquid, bendy rusher and might lack elite reaction skills.

Best-suited destination: Ideally, Bosa fits as an end in a four-man front, but he absolutely has the athleticism to drop or rush from a two-point stance. He’s viewed as one of the cleaner, more NFL-ready prospects in this year’s draft and should be an instant contributor from Day 1 with Pro Bowl potential.

He’s expected to go early, possibly to the San Francisco 49ers, but wouldn’t last much longer if he somehow didn’t go No. 2 overall.

Fun fact: We have to start talking about the Bosas as one of the great NFL draft families of all time. In addition to older brother, Joey, who was the No. 3 overall pick for the San Diego Chargers in 2016, their father and uncle both were first-round picks in the late 1980s. John Bosa, the father, was the Miami Dolphins’ first-round pick in 1987, and uncle Erik Kumerow (a former Ohio State captain) became the Dolphins’ first-rounder the following year. (Cousin Jake Kumerow, Erik’s son, has spent time in the NFL recently also.)

And now Nick is set to make it four first-rounder in the family. If there’s a Draft Family Hall of Fame that we don’t know about, it’s pretty certain that they’re the founding fathers.

They said it: "Bosa is a no-doubter. He was the best player in college football last season [before getting hurt]."

— Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel

Player comp: He’s not quite as big or athletic as brother Joey, but they’re otherwise almost indistinguishable

Expected draft range: Top-five pick

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