NFL Draft

Shocker! Chargers Draft Joey Bosa at No. 3

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A blindside protector like Ronnie Stanley? A five-technique defensive end like DeForest Buckner? A playmaking defensive back like Jalen Ramsey?

In the end, the answers were “no, no and no.”

The Chargers delivered the first surprise of the 2016 NFL Draft, selecting Ohio State DE Joey Bosa with the No. 3 overall pick. The selection was most surprising because Bosa is a traditional 4-3 defensive end, making him a seemingly awkward fit in San Diego’s 3-4 defense.

However, as GM Tom Telesco is wont to say, the Chargers are a 3-4 in name alone. The bottom line is Bosa was the best defender in the draft, making the decision easy … albeit unexpected.

“He’s been the number one guy for a while,” said Telesco of Bosa. “Probably since September. In the end it wasn’t that hard of a decision for us.”

Unlike the Rams and Eagles ahead of them, the Chargers did a brilliant job of masking their intentions for their top pick. Even Bosa was surprised, as he did not take a visit to San Diego or work out with the team prior to the draft. Heck, at the time of his selection he had never even been to America’s Finest City.

While the pick was a surprise, it is easy to warm up to the decision. San Diego’s defense, which began to turn the corner over the second half of last season, can now build around a core of Bosa, Jason Verrett, Denzel Perryman Corey Liuget and Melvin Ingram.


Shortly after his selection, Bosa answered the question of how he will fit into San Diego’s hybrid defense.

“We talked a lot about me being at defensive end,” he told Chargers.com. “I talked to other 3-4 teams that saw me as a linebacker, but coming into this system I’ll be at defensive end and it won’t be that much of an adjustment. The 4-3 and this 3-4, they are actually very similar. It won’t make a difference when you are in base 70 percent of the time. So I am going to be that defensive end for them and I’ll play wherever they think I’ll be best.”

Bosa finished his Buckeyes career with 101 total tackles, 51 tackles for loss, 26 sacks and five forced fumbles. While the box scores were good, the film was even better.

When asked what stood out about Bosa, head coach Mike McCoy said: “Passion and energy every game. Any game you turned on, you saw 97 taking games over.”

Bosa was one of three Ohio State players taken in the top-10, joining RB Ezekial Elliot (Cowboys, No. 4) and CB Eli Apple (Giants, No. 10).

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for Scout.com and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

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