HOUSTON -- If you didn't know Joey Bosa would win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award at NFL Honors on Saturday night, you weren't paying attention this season.
The game-wrecking defensive end compiled 10.5 sacks in just 12 games played. Bosa's impact after missing the first four weeks of the season, following an early-season hamstring injury, is reminiscent of Odell Beckham's rookie year performance.
Bosa earned the most sacks by a rookie since Aldon Smith's 2011 campaign (14), but his influence on the defense was more than just QB takedowns. The 6-foot-5 athletic specimen compiled an outrageous 59 quarterback pressures, per Pro Football Focus. He finished the season with 41 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 15 QB hits.
The rookie made his mark from the moment he hit the field, becoming just the fifth rookie in NFL history to earn two sacks in his debut -- against a good Oakland Raiders offensive line. Bosa became the first Chargers rookie since Shawne Merriman in 2005 to notch 10 or more sacks in a season. Bosa finished second to Aaron Donald in QB hits per game played in 2016, per NFL Research.
Bosa's lengthy contract holdout likely caused the hamstring injury that kept him out the first four games of the season. Once he took the field, however, his influence was undeniable. As a rookie, Bosa's game film displayed a polished ability to bull rush, good hands, fineness around the edge, speed to the quarterback and relentless effort. Anytime you put on the tape of the Chargers' defense in 2016, your eyes went immediately to No. 99. He was that noticeable.
The 2016 No. 3 overall pick is on a path to become the next J.J. Watt in terms of dominance from the defensive line position.
Bosa is the dominant defensive force that could lead the Los Angeles Chargers into playoff contention in 2017. If the Chargers can retain Melvin Ingram (set to become a free agent), they will boast one of the fiercest pass rush duos in the NFL. A defense featuring a front seven of Bosa, Ingram, Denzel Perryman, Jatavis Brown, Korey Toomer, Kyle Emanuel and Brandon Mebane, along with a back end of Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward -- the NFL's leader in interceptions -- would be a good start for new coach Anthony Lynn.
With the talent already in-house, the Chargers could be playoff bound in 2017.