In a move that surprised no one, the San Francisco 49ers selected Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa with the second pick in the NFL Draft.
And just like that, the 49ers pass rush just got scary.
With the pick, the Niners defensive line will be Bosa and Dee Ford – who the 49ers acquired from the Chiefs this offseason – on the end and DeForest Buckner and a combination of Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas in the interior of line.
“…The defensive line is something Kyle [Shanahan] and I had as a priority when we got here,” said general manager John Lynch. “Two of the first things we talked about is finding our quarterback and find the guys to knock them down.” Check. Check.
For Bosa’s part, Santa Clara is where he wanted to be.
“When I visited the Niners, they knew I wanted to go there,” Bosa said. “I knew they were an unbelievable fit for me, and the people just made me feel really comfortable. The area is super nice. I mean, it’s definitely an amazing fit and I’m excited to go to work…[T]he 4-3, pass rushing, edge setting defense. I mean, it’s just exactly what I’ve been doing all my life. I think I’ll hop in and acclimate pretty quick.”
In his three seasons as a Buckeye, Bosa had 77 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 29 TFLS and two forced fumbles. Bosa’s brother, Joey was the third overall pick by the then-San Diego Chargers in the 2016 Draft, and his dad, John, was taken 16th by the Miami Dolphins in 1987.
“…[W]hen you’re watching players, certain things jump out right away,” Lynch said. “One thing, we talked a lot with [DL] Dee [Ford], that first step. Nick has a tremendous first step. He gains a ton of ground. It’s incredibly quick. But, I think a mix of speed and power, and then he’s an absolute technician with his hands. Kyle jokes a lot, it looks like he’s been, since three years old, been doing pass rush moves with his family, and he’s so proficient with it. [Former Ohio State defensive coordinator] Greg Schiano…he was their D-Coordinator this year, and I think he captured what my eyes were seeing and our eyes were seeing better than anyone when he said in all his years of coaching, he’s never had a player whose hand and feet are married together better than Nick Bosa.”
The 49ers expect Bosa to come in and showcase those talents quickly.
“I see him as a three-down player,” said Shanahan. “He’s got to come in and do it, but he plays the run well. His best strength is rushing the passer, but no he can play all three downs and play in all situations.”
Although Bosa’s controversial social media presence has been a concern, Lynch says, “…[W]e’re going to give him a fresh start, and we’d hope that everybody would.”
The 49ers feel confident in that fresh start in large part due to the teammate Bosa has been.
“I think the most indelible memory throughout this process with him, myself and [vice president of player personnel] Adam Peters went down on a day to watch Ohio State,” Lynch said. “They’ve got a ton of prospects, and we were at Rose Bowl practice. It was actually at the StubHub Center. They were practicing there. It was very fortuitous for us because Nick Bosa decided to show up at practice, and he was away from his team all year getting healthy, and this guy shows up in sunglasses and shorts and organically we watched this happen. The entire practice stopped, and every player, every coach, every student manager on that team stopped and embraced Nick Bosa. That spoke to me that here they are with [former Ohio State head coach] Urban Meyer who’s a pretty intense coach, and he just let it happen because it just happened very organically, and to watch those teammates, I think in a situation where they could have had some animosity for a guy who made a decision to leave his team to get ready for his next step in his career, in his professional career, instead they all were appreciative of a guy who they had a ton of respect for. We did a lot of talking to coaches. We did a lot of talking to Nick’s teammates. What they’ll tell you is he’s one of the most beloved players that’s ever been through there to the rest of his teammates, to the coaches and all that, and that spokes volumes to us.”
Bosa shared his leadership style when he spoke to the Bay Area media.
“I just really relate to all my guys,” Bosa said. “I’m not a vocal leader, as in like a rah-rah guy, but I’ll get on you if you’re a young guy and I think you’re not doing something the right way, and I’ll give you a tip or whenever I tell you something, it usually means something, and it’s usually something that’s coming from my heart because I don’t usually speak unless it is something from my heart. I just think I had a great relationship with pretty much everybody on my team, and I’m just an easy guy to relate to.”
Welcome to Santa Clara, Mr. Bosa. Now it’s time to sack some quarterbacks.