If you don’t have a valuable pass rusher in today’s NFL, you better be ready to outscore your opponent every week. That puts a level of pressure on your offense that isn’t sustainable. Thankfully, for the 49ers, the pass rush is the team's strength. And they’re led by one of if not the best edge rusher in the game, Nick Bosa.
NFL.com’s Nick Shook used Next Gen Stats data to examine the league’s top disrupters by citing QB pressures, pressure rate, hurries, hits, sacks, and turnovers caused by QB pressure. Bosa found himself seventh on the list:
QBP rate: 14.7%
Talk about a bounce-back season. Bosa’s 2020 campaign was cut short by a torn ACL suffered in Week 2, but that didn’t stop him from making a massive impact for a rejuvenated 49ers club in 2021. Bosa finished fourth in the NFL in total QB pressures (68) and sacks (15.5), and eighth in QB pressure rate (14.7%). The best area for him to improve in 2022: Force more turnovers via pressure. One is a start, but three or four could position him much higher on this list in a year.
Volume or counting stats need to be done away with. Let’s use 15.5 sacks as an example. The only person with a higher sack rate than Bosa (3.1%) on the list was Trey Hendrickson (3.2%.)
When doing these types of exercises, sacks should be weighted more heavily than pressures and hurries. This is because it’s as simple as the play is over when you sack the quarterback, while that’s not the case with the other two metrics.
We also don’t know how what specific site uses to quantify a pressure or hurry. PFF’s numbers are different from Sports Info Solutions, which are different from Next Gen Stats and Football Outsiders.
Bosa forced four fumbles last year, which was tied for fifth among all defensive linemen. Sure, he could create more, but I doubt we’d be mentioning this if the ball bounced a different way. Also, with an improved secondary, you’d think some of his pressure turns into an interception or two on the backend moving forward.
Bosa had better numbers than a few of the players listed ahead of him but was docked for the lack of pressures resulting in turnovers. In Year 4, with a full season removed from his ACL injury, Bosa should have a career year in 2022.