The San Francisco 49ers had their first regular-season game of 2019 this past Sunday, and we got our first look at the rookie class. It didn’t take long to see Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel in action. Bosa was an obvious stud, while Samuel played the most snaps of any receiver. Let’s talk about how all of the rookies played.
Bosa steals the show
As mentioned in the Studs and Duds, Bosa was one of the most productive pass rushers during Week 1. Since we’ve already talked about how he looked, here are all the times he “won” against Tampa Bay:
Arik Armstead was very good on Sunday. But Nick Bosa was even better. Here’s every time Bosa “won” against Tampa Bay pic.twitter.com/J0fXm6njqT— KP (@KP_Show) September 10, 2019
Here’s PFF’s blurb on Bosa:
2019 overall grade: 80.5
No practice? No problem. After missing a large part of the team’s offseason program, Bosa suited up and made an instant impact in Week 1. Working mostly from the right side of the defensive line — 92.0% of his pass-rush snaps to be exact — the No. 2 pick racked up two sacks, two hits, two hurries and one additional pass-rush “win,” leaving the game the with a pass-rush win rate of 28.0% — the third-best mark among all defensive players who rushed the passer at least 25 times in Week 1.
Tough times for Deebo
Samuel caught all three of his targets for 17 yards and forced a missed tackle on his first catch that went for a first down. He also fumbled the ball, which killed a promising drive for the 49ers. Add in a penalty, a blown block that led to a run stuff, and one of those catches going as a “failed reception,” aka didn’t meet the success rate requirements, and that’s likely how he ended up with a PFF grade of 51.3.
On the routes where Samuel wasn’t targeted, it will be a good teaching tape for him. Samuel is fast. He’s very fast. In the NFL, most players that are on the perimeter can run. He wasn’t creating separation because Samuel was playing full-throttle all the time. I’d like to see him change up the pace of his routes, and learn to use tempo. I loved the idea of Shanahan getting the ball in Samuel’s hands-on screens and reverses. He’s tough to bring down in the open field. Deebo’s versatility will also make it tough to key on him. He moves all around the formation and is continuously in motion before the snap.
Lol @ Deebo Samuel in a 3 point stance pic.twitter.com/5GJPkfg1wy— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) September 10, 2019
Waiting on Wishnowsky
Mitch Wishnowsky only punted the ball twice and had a net average of 45.5. His average hang time per PFF was 4.58. He had the seventh-best net average as well as hang time, so that’s a positive. I think we would all be satisfied if the 49ers only have to punt the ball twice a game.
Go get ‘em, Greenlaw
Fifth-round pick Dre Greenlaw was thrown to the wolves once Kwon Alexander was ejected. The best thing about his performance as he didn’t look out of his depth. I had him down for only one blown coverage during the game, which is plenty good. Dre didn’t make any plays, but he didn’t make any costly rookie mistakes as well. Greenlaw finished the game with three tackles.