San Francisco 49ers and Nick Bosa have been linked to each other all offseason and now with the draft in about a month, it’s time to evaluate Bosa’s fit with the 49ers.
The junior defensive lineman has fans salivating given his pass rushing ability and presence off the edge. During his three-year career at Ohio State, Bosa put up 17.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss and 77 tackles total. While he missed a large part of his junior season, Bosa was on pace to have his highest sack total.
The biggest question mark for the 49ers: will Nick Bosa be available to select at No. 2 overall or will he be getting ready to be an Arizona Cardinal?
Per Pro Football Focus, Bosa won 28 percent of his pass rushes, which was nearly 6 percent higher than the next best pass rusher in the country. The best comparison for Bosa? His elder brother, Joey, who’s a highly effective edge rusher with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Since he’s come into the NFL, the elder Bosa has tallied 28.5 sacks and 134 tackles in nearly 2.5 seasons. Imagine adding that kind of production to the 49ers’ defensive line. Almost seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it?
Let’s take a look at three different game that Bosa competed in during his junior season at Ohio State. He played in wins against Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU, racking up stats in the box score that had scouts drooling over his ability.
Against Oregon State, in this first play below, Bosa shows his speed off the edge, even though he doesn’t finish off the sack. Lined up at the bottom of the screen, he’s easily able to blow past the offensive lineman and get to the quarterback’s feet. However, the offense’s play call utilized the screen pass, freeing them from a sack.
In the next play, Bosa’s lined up at the bottom once again. Another speed rush and there’s no chance for the Beaver offensive lineman. He’s able to apply more pressure on the opposing quarterback, who had to just throw the ball out of bounds and play for the next down.
Now, the younger Bosa shows off his run-stopping skills, as the Oregon State running back chooses to run towards Bosa’s side of the field — bad idea. The top draft prospect is able to spin away from the lineman and tackle the running back for only a two-yard gain.
Moving onto the game against Rutgers, Bosa makes his presence felt early in the game, as he’s able to shed the Rutgers’ blocker away immediately and bring down the running back at the line of scrimmage for no gain.
Imagine adding this type of speed to the 49ers. There hasn’t been this type of pass rush since Aldon Smith. This one clip should convince most fans of why Bosa’s a perfect fit in San Francisco.
Bosa’s contribution in the first three games was felt the strongest against TCU, early in the ball game. With the Horned Frogs’ offense backed up near their own end zone, Bosa welcomed himself with a strip sack of the TCU quarterback, forcing the ball out and a touchdown for the Buckeyes.
With all the upside that the Ohio State pass rusher presents, the biggest risk being the recovery from injury. The younger Bosa suffered a core muscle injury after the game against TCU, forcing a surgery and a long recovery process. The prospect never stepped back on the college field and declared for the NFL Draft.