Ohio State's Joey Bosa will face a decision on whether to apply for draft entry or return for his senior year in 2016. However, if he posts production similar to Clowney's '14 numbers this season with the Buckeyes, it might not hurt Bosa's draft stock, either.
"Forget all that. He's still getting it done. He's in the backfield," an NFL talent evaluator told Yahoo! Sports. "He's taking on combo (blocks) and converting speed to power better than anyone I have (written scouting reports on) this season."
It comes as little surprise that Bosa's standing with NFL clubs isn't necessarily tied to his sack production. After all, he was so effective as a freshman, one NFL club evaluated a Big Ten schedule's worth of offensive tackles based on how well they handled the Buckeyes star in 2013. As for that draft decision, the deadline for underclassmen to apply for entry is Jan. 18, and the final list of underclassmen granted entry into the draft will be released on Jan. 22.
While Bosa has just 3.5 sacks on the year, it's not as though he's not delivering statistically. He leads a supremely talented Buckeyes defense with 11 tackles for loss and nine quarterback hurries. The evaluator told Yahoo! he's only seen one sub-par performance from Bosa on tape from this season, against Maryland. Bosa was credited with only one tackle in that game, a sack for a short loss, but recorded four hurries.
"He's hitting the quarterback; he's pressuring them. He's the best run stopper I've done this season," the evaluator said. "The guy kicks down inside, closes down lanes, messes up your blocking. I love him. I've seen one so-so game from him this season. That's it."
Bosa plays a premium position that absorbs more than its share of first-round draft picks on a regular basis. At 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, he has the length, power, and explosive first step that NFL clubs look for in a cornerstone pass rusher.
One thing is certain: There will be a parade of Buckeyes drafted next year, as talented seniors such as Braxton Miller, Adolphus Washington and Joshua Perry exit the program. And if Bosa is granted early eligibility, he could be on its first float.