LOS ANGELES — Injured, idle and dejected, Nick Bosa headed west in the fall of 2018, leaving his dorm at Ohio State University for the warm climate of Southern California, where his older brother’s condo awaited.
The older Bosa, Joey, resided only 10 minutes away from the rehab facility where Nick planned to train. And so for the next couple of months, the Bosa brothers shared a space while they navigated divergent paths, Joey completing a playoff-bound season for the Los Angeles Chargers and Nick — as is documented on the ESPN+ series Draft Academy — preparing to be a high-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Their time together reaffirmed a thought Joey had long held — that Nick might be the better edge rusher among them.
“When it’s all set and done,” Joey said, “I think he will be.”
Joey, speaking days before what ended up being the Chargers’ final game this past season, was fully expecting Nick to be drafted No. 1 overall. Instead, the San Francisco 49ers took him No. 2, immediately after the Arizona Cardinals selected Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.
Asked in what ways Nick was better, Joey said: “There’s a lot. He’s more flexible than me at this point in his career, and I just think he’s got a better understanding of the position right now. I mean, we’ll see. I intend to improve a lot more throughout my career, and I hope he does as well.”
Joey (6-foot-5, 269 pounds at the 2016 combine) and Nick (6-foot-4, 266 pounds at the 2019 combine) have similar frames and fancy the same number (97). Joey might be a little stronger and Nick might be a little faster, but their play has practically been indistinguishable thus far.
Joey, the third overall pick three years ago, compiled 28.5 sacks, 51 quarterback hits and 35 tackles for loss through his first 35 NFL games. Nick followed Joey from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in South Florida to Ohio State, compiling 13.5 sacks through his first two collegiate seasons. Before suffering a season-ending core muscle injury in the third week of his junior year, Nick was generating pressure on 21.2 percent of his pass-rush attempts, the second-best rate in FBS.
Nick is fully healthy now, enough so that he plans to take part in the 49ers’ rookie minicamp at the beginning of May. By that point, the Bosa brothers will no longer be roommates. The two spent many nights together on the couch over these past few months, watching TV and playing video games the way they did as kids.
Joey didn’t impart much wisdom on Nick.
He didn’t feel as if he needed to.
“People think we’re having these, like, deep life conversations about all this stuff,” Joey said with a laugh. “I mean he’ll ask for advice every once in a while, but he’s got stuff covered. He’s smart. He’s mature for his age, so he’s got a lot covered. He always just watches and listens, just kind of has his own way about things. He takes what I did, or does, and he makes it better.”