With the second overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected Nick Bosa from Ohio State. To say Bosa entered the draft with high expectations is an understatement; Todd McShay of ESPN ranked him as his top overall prospect.
As Bosa prepares to enter training camp with the Niners, let’s take a closer look at why 49ers fans are going to love him.
He killed it at the combine
The NFL Combine isn’t always a predictor of whether a player will pan out (ask the Philadelphia Eagles about Mike Mamula). But Nick Bosa’s performance at the 2019 Combine was so good, the 49ers reportedly decded to draft him then and there. Here were Bosa’s results:
- Bench press: 29 reps at 225 pounds, ninth among edge rushers and defensive linemen
- Shuttle: 4.14 seconds
- Three-cone: 7.10 seconds
- Vertical jump: 33.5 inches
With gaudy numbers like that, it’s no wonder the Niners selected him. But excelling at the Combine alone isn’t sufficient evidence that a player is going to succeed at the next level. They also need a proven track record.
Nick Boas was one college football’s best pass rushers
Bosa missed most of the 2018 college football season due to injury, but before that, he was one of the best defensive players in the nation – if not the single best. Here are just a few of his accomplishments:
- All-American in 2017
- 2017 Big Ten Smith-Brown defensive lineman of the year
- 2017 All-Big Ten Conference
- 2016 Freshman All-American
During Bosa’s sophomore year in which OSU won the Big Ten championship, he led a very talented Buckeyes defense in sacks, tackles-for-loss, and tackles-for-loss yardage.
Bosa’s talent was so apparent that not playing the majority of his junior (and final) season didn’t hurt his draft stock at all.
He’s got a great first step
When trying to get a read on a player, there are few individuals better to do so than one of the player’s college coaches.
According to a radio interview with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, Nick Bosa has a “wicked first step.” Johnson is also very high on his work ethic and professionalism, stating:
“If he would have stayed healthy through his last season, I don’t know what the numbers would have been, but they would have been phenomenal with what he could have done. I never saw a guy so focused, so direct. Everything you want to have in a player, he had it. He wasn’t afraid to go to another notch, elite-wise. Most elite players get to a level elite-wise, and they stop. I think Nick has a really high ceiling, because he got all this work early.”
Based on the fact that he worked closely with Bosa for the better part of three seasons, Johnson’s a reliable source. He gave the rookie the highest praise possible.
Rookies at his position adjust to the NFL quickly
NJ.com ranked the five players most likely to make a big impact at the pro level after this year’s draft. They ranked Nick Bosa number one. Their reasoning? Along with his immense talent, it’s easier for edge rushers to adapt to the NFL game.
It makes sense – they don’t have the pressure to lead a team the way a QB does. And while they have plenty of techniques and defensive schemes to learn, they don’t have as many formations to learn as offensive lineman entering the league.
While anything can happen once he gets to the professional level, Bosa gives the 49ers a lot to be excited about. Based on his athleticism, experience, skill set, and the position he plays, it seems like San Francisco fans will see quick returns on this particular investment.