The Ohio State University and Head Coach Urban Meyer received devastating news Tuesday afternoon. Star defensive end Nick Bosa, rehabbing from abdominal surgery, decided to withdraw from school and focus his attention on his rehab and training for the 2019 draft.
The younger brother of former Ohio State standout and current Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa has been a huge contributor for Ohio State’s front seven since he got to Columbus. A year ago, he recorded 16 tackles for losses and 8.5 sacks in 14 games. He got off to a hot start this season getting four sacks to go with a forced fumble and defensive touchdown in Ohio State’s first 3 games, before going down with the injury.
More and more top college football prospects have decided to forego collegiate games in order to preserve their health for NFL suitors. Back in 2016, Notre Dame middle linebacker Jaylon Smith tore his ACL and suffered major nerve damage to his knee during Notre Dame’s bowl game. Once a consensus top ten pick, teams feared Smith wouldn’t be able to step on the field ever again. Luckily, Smith did get drafted and is currently excelling for the Cowboys defense. However, his injury and the uncertainty surrounding his health forced him to slip mightily in the draft, costing him millions of dollars. Top running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, opted to sit out of their respective teams’ bowl games to avoid ending up with the same fate as Smith. Both wound up being top ten picks in the first round.
Before the start of the season, many scouts pegged Nick Bosa as the best prospect in the class. And when he played this year he proved why scouts think so highly of him. There isn’t anything left for Bosa to prove. Ohio State fans may not be happy with Bosa’s decision, but without any source of pay or income from the NCAA rushing back from injury can only hurt his draft stock.
Could Bosa’s decision not to play ultimately impact his draft stock? There is a plethora of pass rushing talent this year highlighted by Bosa and Houston’s defensive linemen Ed Oliver that have scouts very excited. Teams such as Jon Gruden’s 1-5 Oakland Raiders that are desperate for pass rush could opt to go for “the safer” prospect who excelled all season. Or, a team that goes with the “best available player” approach might grab a left tackle such as Alabama’s Jonah Williams instead of Bosa.
The bottom line is that Bosa’s stock shouldn’t be affected. Most general managers will overlook Bosa’s me-first decision to not finish the season because of his immense talent. Regardless, his decision will be a major storyline throughout Ohio State’s season, especially as they continue to contend for a National Championship, and the draft process thereafter. If Bosa does miraculously slip in the draft, he will make one general manager very, very happy.