Skull Session: Joey Bosa Has “Great First Impressions” of Jim Harbaugh, Marvin Harrison Jr. is a “Tireless Worker” and C.J. Stroud Puts the S2 Cognition Test Out of Commission

By Chase Brown on February 27, 2024 at 5:00 am
Joey Bosa
Jay Biggerstaff / USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Gee Scott Jr. and Joey Velazquez are Ohio State's DUDES OF THE WEEK. It looks like the former Michigan linebacker has impressed in winter workouts.

Have a good Tuesday.

 “GREAT FIRST IMPRESSIONS.” In a recent interview with the New York Post, NFL reporter Jared Schwartz asked former Ohio State and current Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa to share his initial impressions of Jim Harbaugh, his new head coach. Here’s how Bosa responded:

“We sat down and talked for 30 minutes to an hour a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “Great first impressions. … I have a lot of confidence in him and the staff that he’s bringing around him. I think he seems like a really genuine guy, which you don’t find that a lot in coaches all the time. He’s interesting. He loves football more than anything. I think all he wants to do is win. The way he talked about his feelings toward this job and the future was pretty exciting.”

Schwartz should have asked Bosa to blink twice if the Chargers asked him to make positive comments about Harbaugh against his will. Alas, Schwartz did not, so I will have to assume that’s the case, as I don’t believe any Ohio State alum – let alone an Ohio State football player – would call Harbaugh a “genuine guy.” Though some may call him “interesting.”

Jokes aside, Bosa is in an impossible situation when it comes to honoring his Ohio State background and, therefore, his hatred for “That Team Up North” as a member of the Chargers. 

In 2020, Bosa signed a five-year, $135 million extension with the franchise that will keep him in Los Angeles through 2025. Barring an unforeseen trade, he is stuck with Harbaugh for at least the next two seasons, which means we could see Bosa make more positive remarks about Harbaugh in the future.

That, to me, is bleh

But that’s how professional football works. 

The NFL is a business, one where even a Buckeye and Wolverine can work together to win a Super Bowl. Of course, the Almighty American Dollar helps ease the tension for both parties. In Bosa’s case, it will be almost 50 million of those dollars. 

And let’s be honest. I think most people, if not all people, would take that amount of cash to make positive comments about their boss every once in a while — even if they don’t like them. (Jason and Dan, I like you. I did not receive $50 million to write that).

 MARVELOUS MARV. Marvin Harrison Jr.’s name was in the headlines on Monday when Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that the former Ohio State wide receiver would not work out at the NFL Scouting Combine this week.

All who read Breer’s article came to a similar conclusion: Harrison has nothing to gain from completing drills and tests at the combine. 

Indeed, with back-to-back seasons as a unanimous All-American, Harrison has proven he is one of the most talented prospects in the draft with his on-field production. 

While I would have loved to watch him run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash and bench 225 pounds 20 times, it wasn’t required for Harrison to become a top-five pick. Even without those measurables, Harrison will still become Ohio State’s highest-drafted receiver of all time in April (Terry Glenn went No. 7 overall in 1996). Why? Because he was the best pass-catcher in college football last season. That’s the (correct) claim Joel Klatt of Fox Sports made on Monday:

“There’s a reason he won the Biletnikoff Award, and he probably should have won it two years in a row. There’s a reason he’s a two-time All-American — by the way, he’s the only two-time All-American in Ohio State history, which is saying something for all the players that have come through that building. He’s as good as they come. Physically, he’s way bigger than you would expect. He’s 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, probably a little bit more. He’s fast and probably faster than people realize. He runs terrific routes. He is a technician in a lot of ways. He understands the game. He is a tireless worker.

"Every time I have been to Ohio State, after practice, he’s on the field catching footballs off the JUGS machine. Whether he was nursing an ankle injury or he was fully healthy, whether it was spring or summer, whether it was the first week of fall or before the Michigan game, the guy is a tireless worker. He understands that his goal is not just to be a good player at the college level. … His standard is greatness. That’s what he’s chasing. Granted, that’s where he comes from.

"He’s as good as they come. He’s the best wide receiver in the draft. He’s the best pass-catcher in the draft. We’ve known that for quite some time. … He’s gonna be a great player. He’s gonna be an All-Pro. He’s gonna be a 10-time Pro Bowler if he stays healthy. If he lands in the right spot, it’s on.”

Yeah, what he said!

 GOOD RIDDANCE. Remember last February, March and April when college football and NFL “experts” would pick on C.J. Stroud and question both his character and on-field performance? From Brady Quinn's claim that Stroud “ghosted” the Manning Passing Academy to leaked information about Stroud’s S2 Cognition score, that was a wild time.

Yet, here we are. 

One year later, we know the Houston Texans selected Stroud with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. We know Stroud completed 63.9% of his passes for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions in his first season. We know Stroud won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and was a Pro Bowl Games alternate in the AFC.

Those “experts” were wrong about Stroud. Dead wrong.

From Zak Keefer of The Athletic:

The truth is C.J. Stroud never let it get to him, even as draft day neared and the questions started coming and the conversation around him shifted.

“Look at my perspective,” he’d say later. “I’m about to get drafted regardless of that dang test.”

He was right — Stroud, the Ohio State quarterback who was among the top prospects in last year’s NFL Draft, still went second to the Houston Texans, and in a matter of months, the 22-year-old would put together one of the most prolific seasons by a rookie quarterback in league history, lifting a flagging franchise from the league cellar to the divisional round of the playoffs.

But his ascent was less assured last April, when Stroud’s on-field intelligence was being debated, even doubted. Most of this stemmed from his leaked score on the S2, a pre-draft cognition test that has quickly gained credence around the NFL for its ability to measure a quarterback’s mental capacity and, some believe, forecast his chances of future success.

Ten months later, it’s hard to tell the story of Stroud’s record-setting rookie season without at least addressing the reliability of that dang test and what the ensuing firestorm says about the draft process and the veracity of the information that trickles out along the way. Too often, according to several high-ranking league executives granted anonymity by The Athletic so they could discuss Stroud and the test without tampering charges, vital context is missing. Stroud’s case, they believe, is a prime example.

For starters, one exec wondered, why was his score leaked to the media in the first place? And by whom?

Keefer interviewed several NFL executives in an effort to answer such questions. Here is what some of them said:

“I think it was thrown out there by a team that had their own goals and wanted to use it to put him down and gloat on what they wanted seen,” said one general manager whose team was not in the running for a top quarterback in last year’s draft.

“It was complete B.S. that it was leaked,” offered another GM, “but people in our league can’t help themselves.”

“It paints the picture of the kid that’s a false narrative,” one exec said.

“I’m gonna go off on a sidebar here,” (Colts GM Chris) Ballard said (last) draft weekend. “All the crap that comes out about these kids … it’s bullsh–. I’m sorry, but it’s bullsh–. Like, people leak these stories, these negative stories on kids, and I don’t agree with it. It’s bullsh–. ... They work their ass off to where they need to be, and then all week you gotta read (this) and they gotta answer questions on it. They’re good kids, and I thought (Stroud) had to take a beating he didn’t have to take.”

That second NFL GM is correct. People in the NFL can’t help themselves. That’s why I was encouraged to learn “Now Athletes First” and sports agent David Mulugheta have advised their clients to decline the S2 test during the pre-draft process. 

While the organization did not cite how Stroud put its credibility in doubt, the connection is clear: Mulugheta represents Stroud. Therefore, I’ll take it Mulugheta was displeased when Stroud’s draft stock and reputation took a hit due to his score on the S2 test.

It’s the NFL draft, so I am sure there will still be lots of drama about whether the Chicago Bears will pick Caleb Williams or Drake Maye or if Marvin Harrison Jr. is a better wide receiver prospect than Malik Nabers – you know, all that dumb stuff. But at least we won’t have to talk about S2 scores and cognition assessments in 2024. Oh, what a relief that is.

 IMMITATION → FLATTERY? In some non-Ohio State news, the Los Angeles Clippers announced a rebrand on Monday, revealing new uniforms and a new logo that will debut in 2024. Central Ohio’s Triple-A baseball team, the Columbus Clippers, had some fun on X following the NBA team’s announcement on the platform formerly known as Twitter.

I’ll admit it. I’ve always wondered why Columbus — a city whose most notable bodies of water are the Olentangy River, Scioto River and Alum Creek — had a baseball team called the Clippers, a name given to 19th-century ships with concave bows and raked masts. It makes more sense for a Los Angeles team (formerly a San Diego team) to have the nickname. 

However, here’s what I find comical: Columbus has more respect for the name “Clippers” than Los Angeles. As X users were quick to point out, Los Angeles’ new logo looks more like a cruise ship than a sailboat.

Columbus just does it better.

We remain on top.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Sleep On The Floor” - The Lumineers.

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