Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

‘We literally had no answer for him’: Execs, players, coaches rank 49ers’ Nick Bosa as a top-3 edge defender

Jul 13, 2020 at 5:56 AM--

So far, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and offensive tackle Trent Williams have made ESPN's rankings for being among the best at their respective positions. Both landed in the top-3, with Kittle being named the league's best tight end.

The rankings are being compiled by writer Jeremy Fowler, who conducted an extensive poll involving 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players. The latest top-10 ranking involved edge defenders, and the 49ers have another top-3 player in defensive end Nick Bosa.

How well is Bosa viewed across the league? Fowler notes that the 22-year-old made a serious push for the No. 1 overall spot. Only Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears and Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals ranked higher.

"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," wrote Fowler.

"Jimmy G's busted knee was a blessing," said one general manager. "Motor, speed, smart, hard to block."

Another NFL executive watched in frustration as his team played the 49ers last season, all while being impressed by Bosa and noting that his nine sacks don't do him justice. Bosa's pass-rushing productivity rating of 9.7 by Pro Football Focus led all rookies last season, and his 80 pressures are the most ever recorded by the analytics site and 14 more than any other rookie edge defender since 2006 when the site started tracking data.

"We literally had no answer for him," noted the executive. "Completely dominated us."

Bosa is entering his second NFL season. He added four postseason sacks to his nine regular-season ones on the way to being named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Bosa also earned a Pro Bowl selection during his rookie campaign. The young defender added 47 regular-season tackles, two passes defensed, an interception, and a forced fumble to his sack total.

"It's very difficult to be impactful as rookie, even for great players," said a longtime defensive line coach. "He did that as well as anybody I can think of. Great quickness and speed."

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