What I’m Hearing: NFL Insider Jarrett Bell dishes on the top two quarterbacks, where they may land and the one guy that people are calling the next “Megatron.”
INDIANAPOLIS — It would appear the NFL is Nick Bosa’s oyster.
The former Ohio State defensive end could be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft. He’s almost assuredly going somewhere in the top 10, revealing Saturday at the scouting combine that he was scheduled to meet with the Cardinals, 49ers, Jets, Raiders, Buccaneers, Giants, Jaguars and Lions — or, said another way, the clubs holding the first eight selections (in that order) of the first round.
But as incredibly bright as the future seems, to Bosa, things were just as bleak a few months ago.
In an atypically introspective interview, he talked about his miserable autumn, which included a core muscle injury that prematurely ended his promising junior season after three games. The ailment led to his semi-controversial choice to withdraw from Ohio State in October in order to rehabilitate and prepare for the NFL.
“When I got home from that TCU game,” said Bosa, referring to his final Buckeyes appearance last Sept. 15, “I was laying in bed, I could barely get up. It was one of the darkest moments of my life so far.
“It was the year that I been waiting for my whole career. … Coming in (to 2018), I was going to be the guy. Started strong my first three games. Just got torn away from me. It’s something that I’ll always think back to.”
Bosa had four sacks and six tackles for losses in those three games before he went down. He was left to reluctantly ponder what could have been, for him personally and his team. Ohio State wound up winning the Big Ten and Rose Bowl, a great season by most standards, but failed to make the College Football Playoff.
“I wasn’t over it at all in a couple weeks,” he admitted. “It took me a couple months. Just watching the games — watching the Team Up North game (Michigan) — all that was painful, even though we whupped ‘em.
“That made it a little bit better, but it was tough.”
Speaking of tough, Bosa also described in detail how excruciating the injury itself, which took months of recovery, was. He knew almost immediately that his season was in jeopardy once he got hurt.
“The toughest part is just the beginning,” he recalled. “It’s such a unique injury in that it’s literally the muscle used to breathe, to cough, to go to the bathroom.”
And the rehab? Not much better apparently.
“It was just a slow process,” Bosa said. “You break down scar tissue, you feel pops and stuff, which is not fun. You have to get all your flexibility back, your abs are all mushy. It’s not fun.”
But he’s through the worst of it, his confidence and midsection again intact — Bosa said a recurrence of his injury is rare, according to doctors, once it’s been surgically repaired — and is feeling better than ever after “training at full speed for a couple months.”
Despite outside perception, he said NFL teams have been “supportive” and understood his decision to leave school.
Now he’s focused on enhancing one of the league’s most impressive family legacies given his father John, brother Joey and uncle (Eric Kumerow) were all first rounders. However Nick is a good bet to top the high-water Round 1 mark set by Joey, taken third overall by the Chargers in 2016.
“I’ve been talking myself up pretty good,” joked Bosa, who’s eager to do the full combine workout Sunday.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said of the prospect Arizona could take him first overall. “That would just mean so much to me, to be thought of as the best player in the draft.”
Bosa knows this combine is already framing a debate as to whether the Cardinals should choose him or Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray even though they selected quarterback Josh Rosen in the first round last year. Bosa had no interest in poking holes in Murray’s case, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t highlight his own bona fides.
“I’m going to come in, and I’m going to work every day, every practice trying to find new things to better myself,” said Bosa. “If you do draft me, then you’ll have somebody who’s going to improve throughout my entire career.”
And somebody who’s eager to make up for his lost 2018, even if he has to do it at the next level.
“I’m going to show it this year as a rookie,” Bosa said, referring to his vast ability after having to share snaps his first two years in Columbus.
“I didn’t get to show as much as I wanted at Ohio State. It was very short, but I’ve got a lot of football to play in my career.”
Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis