INDIANAPOLIS – Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa is regarded as a first-round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.
And with so many Buckeyes in the NFL, it would be easy to think that Bosa stayed home to find a player to emulate, right?
“I like watching Tamba Hali,” Bosa said Friday of the Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker during a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s one of coach (Larry) Johnson’s guys, so when I watch him I pretty much see the prototype coach Johnson, exactly what he coaches. So he’s fun to watch.”
That would be Johnson Sr., the father of former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson and a former defensive line coach at Penn State, where Hali played. Johnson currently has the same position at Ohio State.
The 6-6, 275-pound Bosa had five sacks in 2015 and finished his career at Ohio State with 26. And he certainly found a good role model to observe in Hali, who has five Pro Bowl appearances and 86 sacks on his 10-year career with the Chiefs.
While Bosa said he and Hali have worked out together, there is one area of Hali’s training that Bosa has yet to experience.
“I haven’t got to work with the martial arts guy that coach Johnson brings in,” Bosa said. “But just watching Tamba, he’s come in and he’s worked with us and when you watch his hands and the way he pass rushes, it’s exactly what coach Johnson coaches, the way he uses his hands, the way he flips his hips, so I just like watching him.”
Bosa projects as a Top-5 selection in May’s NFL Draft by numerous draft-related websites, including NFLDraftScout.com and CBS Sports, making it very unlikely he will be on the board when the Chiefs are on the clock with pick No. 28.
Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika has personal ties to the Chiefs.
Older cousin Paul Fanaika plays guard in Kansas City and the younger cousin wouldn’t mind playing together.
“Man, that would be amazing,” Jason Fanaika said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s a lot older than me, so growing up I always looked up to him because he was the first Fanaika to really play college football when he was at ASU (Arizona State). So, looking up to him, it’d be an honor and a great story to tell our family if we ended up playing with each other. I’d like to see him in practice.”
Fanaika, who measures 6-2, 271 pounds, said he can play defensive end, nose tackle, middle linebacker and outside linebacker.
And the flexibility to be interchangeable on defense could prove appealing to any team.
“I’ve started every single position in the box for at least one game in my college career,” Fanaika said. “Versatility I definitely feel any team if they need me to gain weight, it’s easy for me to gain weight. If they need me to lose weight, I’ll lose as much weight as they need me to lose.”
The Chiefs talking to Brigham Young defensive end Bronson Kaufusi shouldn’t surprise, especially when considering Kaufusi played at coach Andy Reid’s alma mater.
The 6-6, 285-pound Kaufusi told ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal he had an informal interview Thursday night with the Chiefs.
“I’ve talked to some of their scouts and some of their staff, great organization,” Kaufusi said.
The former Couger also knows a lot about the Chiefs with former teammate Daniel Sorensen playing in Kansas City.
“I know they got a lot of great pass rushers there, great defense,” Kaufusi said.
It also doesn’t hurt to having Hebron Fangupo, who spent time on the Chiefs practice squad in 2014-15, helping out the BYU coaching staff as Kaufusi transitions to the NFL.
Fangupo, of course, played collegiately at BYU.
“He came back and helped us out in between things,” Kaufusi said, “so it was nice to have him around because he has great experience and really try to gain all his knowledge.”
Kaufusi totaled 10 sacks in 2015 and finished his college career with 25 sacks.