ESPN has made it through the offensive part of their rankings and made their way to the defensive side of the ball, where the San Francisco 49ers should be featured at every position. Remember, these rankings do come from 50 people who work in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean there is no bias in voting.
Today we talk edge rushers, and that means Nick Bosa. Dee Ford and Arik Armstead didn’t receive an honorable mention vote, but Bosa was ranked as high as No. 1 by some voters, which says a lot for a rookie. Ultimately, Bosa landed at No. 3 on the list behind Khalil Mack and Chandler Jones. Von Miller was fourth, and those three would be the only players I’d entertain as better than Bosa. Here is what was said about the Niners star pass rusher:
Age: 22 | Highest ranking: 1 | Lowest ranking: 8
Bosa surpassed expectations in the voting, and made a serious push for the No. 1 overall spot.
The league is envious of the 49ers for stealing Bosa No. 2 overall in 2019 thanks in part to Jimmy Garoppolo missing 13 games the year before.
“Jimmy G’s busted knee was a blessing,” one NFL general manager said. “Motor, speed, smart, hard to block.”
One exec whose team played the 49ers last year was impressed — and frustrated — watching Bosa in person, pointing out his nine sacks don’t do him justice.
“We literally had no answer for him,” the exec said. “Completely dominated us.”
To be sure, Bosa is fortunate to play on a dynamic defensive line across the board. And he’s more of a compact rusher than one who dominates with length. But evaluators say his talent stands alone.
“It’s very difficult to be impactful as rookie, even for great players,” a longtime defensive line coach said. “He did that as well as anybody I can think of. Great quickness and speed.”
There is no doubt San Francisco stole Bosa at the top of the draft, thanks to Garoppolo’s injury. Bosa’s sack total doesn’t do him justice for a few reasons. For starters, Bosa let about five or six sacks out of his grasp. Early in the season, Bosa was the one that was frustrated. Aside from counting stats, Bosa won so often as a pass rusher that he opened up opportunities for everyone else. You know you’re a star when Armstead, Ford, and DeForest Buckner are on the field, and offenses are sliding their protection towards you, and you can’t even rent a car.
To the exec that was both impressed and frustrated, you are not alone. I wonder which team the executive was on. Bosa seemingly had some sort of impact play in each game, so the list isn’t exactly small. Bosa’s work ethic will prevent him from plateauing, and if there is football, 2020 will be a special season for No. 97.
The real question is, who in the site decorum ranked Bosa eighth?