The 49ers defensive line has fans salivating over the possibilities in 2019. While its run defense has much improved since Jim O’Neil turned in one of the worst in history, the pass rushing has left something to be desired, it needed more improvement and it just might almost be there.
The folks over at Pro Football focus have the 49ers defensive as one of the most improved defensive lines in football.
Similar to the reason why the Bengals made it for most improved offensive line, the 49ers appear here under most improved pass-rush. They didn’t add another defensive lineman outside of Nick Bosa; it’s just that Bosa is that good.
The comparisons to his brother Joey are too eerie not to bring up. Not only are their testing and grading numbers almost identical as you can see above, but they also move the exact same way...
...The upshot is that Joey hit the ground running with double-digit sacks and an 86.6 overall grade as a rookie. If Nick can do the same, the 49ers will have transformed one of the league’s worst pass-rushes in 2018 to one of the best in 2019 over the course of the offseason.
A lot of the hopeful success of the line rides on Nick Bosa and he’s right now sitting out with a hamstring injury. With any luck (and crossed fingers for good measure) that will be the last injury he deals with for some time.
The whole line itself is loaded with first round draft picks. This reminds me a lot of the 49ers offensive line developing during the Mike Nolan/Mike Singletary days. When they took Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis in 2010 there were rumblings that the 49ers may have the best offensive line in football. The 49ers offensive line wasn’t awful in 2010, but it had its issues. In 2011 with a year of geling behind them, the line lived up to the name and was one of the best lines in the league if not the best when Jim Harbaugh arrived and lived up to it until injuries decimated it during 2014.
The same could be forming for the 49ers defensive line. I’ve said this a couple times, but it bears repeating. The 49ers defensive line has improved, but it will need time to gel. The numbers will most certainly go up, they were too disappointing in 2018 not to. With the talent on the line, but keep an eye on 2020. I think in a year we aren’t talking about an improved defensive line, but perhaps one of the best defensive lines in football.