The best defensive player in the NFL might have less than one season in the NFL, and the league is starting to notice what he’s doing. Nick Bosa might be a rookie, but he is doing so many things well that it is hard to figure out a player who deserves the NFL’s defensive player of the year award more than Bosa does so far. While Jimmy Garoppolo gets plenty of praise heaped on him as the team’s starting quarterback, many people are crediting the undefeated 49ers‘ defense for their success, and as their best defender, Bosa may be a shoo-in for the award.
Nick Bosa’s Defensive Player of the Year credentials
As an edge rusher, many expected Nick Bosa to have superstar potential, but take some time to find his place in the NFL. Through eight games, however, he has shown to have a grasp of the defensive side of the field. Like his brother Joey, who is a defensive juggernaut in his own right, Bosa is performing at the top of the league, and he is doing so for the only undefeated team that is left.
The single biggest reason that Bosa should win, however, is the fact that he is dominating offenses with such a balanced attack that doesn’t require him to lead the NFL in any single stat. Other players might have more tackles, more sacks, or more interceptions than him, but they are not doing everything in one package like him. As Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports says, Bosa is shaping up to be a truly unique player in the NFL. The early hype in the season is not fueled by hot takes and speculations, but what he’s doing on the field.
To date, Bosa has 21 tackles, 17 of them solo and four assisted. He has accounted for seven sacks through his first eight games, six of them starts. He’s honing in on the other teams’ offenses at an alarming rate. In a specifically deadly performance against the Carolina Panthers, Bosa boasted five tackles, two assisted tackles, three sacks, and his first interception for 46 yards. That’s the type of performance superstars have, not rookies who are still cutting their teeth.
The dominance is getting the eye of Bosa’s team, including head coach Kyle Shanahan and teammate Richard Sherman, a man known for his own superstar defense.
Nick Bosa receives high praise from veteran teammate
Sherman believes that Bosa’s early-season performance has already been good enough to garner accolades, and if nothing changes whatsoever, he believes that Bosa should be rewarded for his play.
“If he just kept the stat line as it is right now, he could win rookie of the year,” Sherman said (per Yahoo! Sports). “Right now, he should be in line for defensive MVP.”
Shanahan is equally smitten with his rookie’s ferocious play early on. Shanahan sees Bosa making plays that players at his position could rarely dream of, let alone perform.
“The play he made on the interception [against the Panthers] was one of the more impressive plays I’ve seen from a d-lineman,” Shanahan said. “Thought he should’ve scored, but it’s always nice when they don’t and they let the offense score too. It’s alright.”
With a presumably top-tier record, around the board efficiency, and a willingness to go the extra mile, Bosa should be a leading candidate for defensive player of the year, but will the NFL award it to a rookie?
A rookie DPoY?
Becoming the defensive player of the year would not be an impossible task, but Nick Bosa would have large shoes to fill if he wanted to get the award. To date, Lawrence Taylor is the only rookie ever to win the award, and he did so as a linebacker, not an edge rusher. However, just because something seems hard to achieve, it does not mean that it is an impossible goal.
Bosa doesn’t need to match the legacy of Lawrence Taylor, nor does he need to win the award at all to bolster his legacy. Were he able to do so, however, he’d forge a place in football history that may stand for a very long time, and 49ers fans have ample reason to be excited.