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Nick Bosa named Pepsi Rookie of the Year

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Bosa credited Dee Ford for helping him improve as a finisher when he was struggling early in the season

San Francisco 49ers Media Availability Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa has been named the Pepsi Rookie of the Year. Bosa told reporters on Wednesday that winning the official award, which will be announced on Saturday night, partly because his older brother won the award as well. Bosa was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie after racking up nine sacks this season. It won’t be long before he’s an All-Pro.

I was interested in who was the catalyst and the leader of the defensive line. Asking around, each defensive linemen made it clear that was Dee Ford. Bosa said Ford had helped him out a lot this season, but early on when Bosa was struggling to finish is where Ford had the most significant impact:

We then went to DeForest Buckner to ask what he’s learned from Bosa this season, and what Buckner’s go-to pass rush moves are.

I asked Arik Armstead about Ford and what was one area where Ford has helped Armstead the most this season:

Dee’s came in and been a leader, even though it’ only Year 6. he’s one of the older players on our front. He has a lot of experience winning games and playing in the playoffs. Also, he’s extremely talented. He brings an element to our team where people have to focus on him, and it opens it up for all of us out there.

Armstead said that he doesn’t have a go-to pass rush move, like Bosa’s “two-handed side scissor,” or Buckner’s arm over, but I think it’s his bull-rush. Armstead’s quickness off the ball and the ability to jolt offensive lineman lead to a lot of wins. Ford’s is the “dip and rip” move that many classic speed rushers have. For this defense, it makes him a perfect fit. As does his leadership. Ford has been preaching consistency:

Every play, every down, keep that same focus and same energy with whatever flow of the game. It could be up or down; you just never know. Every single play, every single opportunity needs to be the same. Let that energy jump out on tape.

Bosa joked that he doesn’t seem like he’s an energetic guy during interviews, but it translates to the field. It’s hard to argue with that, and his energy is a big reason why Bosa was able to be so productive as a rookie. Congrats, and well deserved, Nick.