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Thread: Joey Bosa, not Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, has been NFLís best rookie

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    Senior Member Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Joey Bosa, not Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, has been NFLís best rookie

    Joey Bosa, not Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, has been NFLís best rookie
    By Jeff Dooley November 29

    The 2016 NFL draft class has already made its mark on the NFL, with rookie quarterbacks Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys and Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles leading their teams to the NFLís best record and wild-card contention, respectively. Both players currently rank among the top 15 quarterbacks in Pro Football Focusís grades Ė Prescott is 11th at 83.9 on PFFís 0-100 scale, and Wentz is 14th at 81.8 Ė and have arguably been less impressive than Prescottís teammate Ezekiel Elliott, who leads the NFL in rushing with 1,199 yards while also ranking as the No. 1 running back in PFF grades at 86.8.


    But as good as all three of those players have been, there is an argument to be made that the best rookie in the NFL on a per-game basis resides on the defensive side of the ball: San Diego Chargers edge defender Joey Bosa.

    Bosa is playing at a level just a notch below Von Miller. As a rookie.

    Coming out of Week 12, Bosa ranks fifth among all edge defenders in PFF grades, with an 89.8 that ranks just a couple of tenths shy of the 90.0 threshold that begins the ďeliteĒ player designation. This puts him just shy of league leaders Khalil Mack of the Raiders (92.6) and Von Miller of the Broncos (91.6) Ė two of the very best defensive players in the NFL.


    The rate at which Bosa has been generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks has been pretty remarkable. PFF has a statistic called pass-rush productivity that measures how often a defensive player produces pressure on a per-snap basis, with extra weight given to sacks. Bosa ranks fifth among all edge defenders with a score of 14.6 on the strength of his 39 total pressures: five sacks, 10 hits and 24 hurries on 209 pass-rush snaps. Thatís roughly the equivalent of getting a QB pressure on one in every five pass-rush snaps, which is one of the best rates youíll ever see. (For comparison, Miller is at 17.4 percent this year.)

    Bosa has helped turn around the Chargersí fortunes this season

    Bosaís impact has been seen in more than just the stat sheet. In a league where passing continues to take on increased importance, edge rusher is arguably the second-most important position on the field after quarterback. The ability to apply pressure to opposing QBs is the great equalizer in todayís NFL, with the average quarterbackís passer rating dropping by 30 points when he is under pressure compared to a clean pocket.



    Consider this:

    ē When under pressure this season, Tom Brady (the No. 1 QB in PFF grades) has earned a passer rating of 93.2

    ē When throwing from a clean pocket, Blake Bortles (No. 27) has earned a passer rating of 92.2.

    Thatís why the Chargersí 4-3 record since Bosa made his NFL debut in Week 5 (an offseason holdout delayed his arrival by four games, during which time San Diego went 1-3) canít be dismissed as a mere coincidence. In those four wins, the Chargers forced their opposing QBs into the following PFF grades:

    Week 12 Brock Osweiler, Houston: 48.8

    Week 9 Marcus Mariota, Tennessee: 60.0

    Week 7 Matt Ryan, Atlanta: 76.1

    Week 6 Trevor Siemian, Denver: 43.0

    Only Ryan ranked among the top half of NFL QBs in grades for that particular week, and Bosa averaged 6.25 pressures in those four outings, including three total sacks.



    Thereís also the critical fact Bosa is far from a one-dimensional player. In fact, his balance is remarkable. He ranks fifth overall in edge defender grades, including fifth as a pass-rusher and fifth against the run. This isnít surprising given his track record in college Ė he ranked No. 1 in the nation in PFFís edge defender grades in 2014 and 2015, and in 2015 he ranked first as both a pass-rusher and a run-defender. (As a true sophomore in 2014, he ranked first as a pass-rusher but only third as a run-defender. Slacker.)

    Bosaís case is as strong as any of the other top rookies, if not stronger

    If youíre willing to isolate this discussion to evaluating each rookie on a per-game performance, stripping away positional value (obviously, Bosaís late start to the year limits his overall contributions, and itís hard to argue that any position player is more valuable than a top-15 quarterback in the NFL), Bosa has a very strong case for the claim of leagueís best rookie.

    He is playing at the same level as the NFLís best players at his position, with several standout performances and without any of the major down games both Prescott (versus the Eagles) and Wentz (versus the Vikings and Seahawks) have fallen victim to so far this season.

    The debate over ďwhich rookie is best at his position?Ē is tightest between Bosa and Elliott, his former Ohio State teammate. While Bosa has a higher PFF grade, Elliott actually ranks No. 1 at his position group, and has stood out not just for his running ability but for his ability to hold his own in the passing game, which often can provide the toughest learning curve for a rookie running back. He owns the No. 1 rushing grade, No. 8 receiving grade and No. 19 pass-blocking grade among backs.

    But whether itís fair or not to ďpunishĒ Elliott for running behind a fantastic Dallas offensive line, Elliott has clearly been placed in an ideal situation to succeed early in his career. The Cowboys rank behind only the Raiders in run-blocking grades so far this season, while Elliott ranks tied for 19th of 45 qualifying backs in PFFís elusive rating metric, which measures how effective a back is independent of his blocking.


    On 266 total touches (carries plus receptions) this season, Elliott has 37 broken tackles this season. On an identical 266 total touches, Arizonaís David Johnson has broken 59.

    Now, again, is it fair to take away from Elliottís accomplishments just because heís successfully taken advantage of the good blocking his line has provided him? (You donít have to break any tackles when running untouched to the end zone.) Of course not. And itís hard to argue with anyone making the claim he has been the leagueís best rookie this season.

    But for all of those who wish to point out (rightfully so) that we havenít seen a rookie performance like this from a running back in some time, consider this: None of the leagueís top edge rushers produced as rookies at the level Bosa is currently. Not Miller, not Mack, not Chiefs OLB Justin Houston, not Texans DE J.J. Watt. Miller came the closest back in 2011 with a pass-rush productivity of 12.3 during his standout rookie season, but thatís still off the 14.6 pace being set by Bosa currently.

    All of it adds up to Bosa being the most impressive rookie in the NFL since he took the field in Week 5. The Chargers appear to have found a franchise cornerstone with the No. 3 overall pick.

  2. #2
    Administrator boozeman's Avatar
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    Grrr. Argh. Argh.

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    Amateur football god Iamtdg's Avatar
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    All based on PFF grades. ~flush~
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

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    Senior Member Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iamtdg View Post
    All based on PFF grades. ~flush~
    I knew that would be the 1st retort.

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    Administrator boozeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggyfly View Post
    I knew that would be the 1st retort.
    What would be the acceptable retort for you?

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    Amateur football god Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggyfly View Post
    I knew that would be the 1st retort.
    Don't get me wrong, Bosa has proved me wrong. But, I just don't agree he has outshined Dak and Zeke. Dak and Zeke are at the top of the entire NFL in a lot of stats. Bosa isn't even top 30 in sacks.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggyfly View Post
    Joey Bosa, not Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, has been NFLís best rookie
    By Jeff Dooley November 29



    Week 12 Brock Osweiler, Houston: 48.8

    Week 9 Marcus Mariota, Tennessee: 60.0

    Week 7 Matt Ryan, Atlanta: 76.1

    Week 6 Trevor Siemian, Denver: 43.0
    You can give him Ryan, but holding Osweiler and Trevor Siemian to a low grade isn't exactly impressive.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boozeman View Post
    What would be the acceptable retort for you?
    I was just noting how despised PFF is around here.

    Except when it's negative against a player people don't like.

    I don't think PFF is the holy grail but to totally ignore evrything else in the article because of PFF is comical.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iamtdg View Post
    Don't get me wrong, Bosa has proved me wrong. But, I just don't agree he has outshined Dak and Zeke. Dak and Zeke are at the top of the entire NFL in a lot of stats. Bosa isn't even top 30 in sacks.
    It's a click bait title and totally off base.

    And it's the Washington paper so they are probably trolling a little bit as well.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Genghis Khan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggyfly View Post
    I was just noting how despised PFF is around here.

    Except when it's negative against a player people don't like.

    I don't think PFF is the holy grail but to totally ignore evrything else in the article because of PFF is comical.
    I think PFF is almost scamming people at this point. They forward a lot of subjective opinions that they couch as fact.

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