Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus ranks 49ers’ defensive line as NFL’s fourth-best

Jul 20, 2020 at 11:45 AM--

Three NFL teams on Monday saw their defensive lines ranked higher than the one found in Santa Clara, California. Pro Football Focus named the defensive fronts found with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington (whatever they're going to be called) listed as better than the San Francisco 49ers unit.

The reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Nick Bosa, looked like a seasoned veteran during his first NFL season and showed that he is a rising star.

"Nick Bosa enters Year 2 of his NFL career after setting the rookie record for most total pressures in a season (80)," wrote analyst Sam Monson. "He broke a record that had stood since 2011 — by 16 pressures, no less — and that doesn't even count the fact that he still had his foot on the gas by the time the Super Bowl rolled around."

San Francisco lost an interior force when it traded DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, but replaced the defensive tackle by drafting Javon Kinlaw out of South Carolina. The 49ers will ask the rookie to contribute a lot in his first NFL season as the defensive line works to build off an impressive 2019 campaign.

"Kinlaw was the most effective pass-rushing interior lineman in this draft, slotting in as the No. 1 player at his position on PFF's Big Board because of it," wrote Monson.

The analyst notes that Arik Armstead and Dee Ford provide depth on the edge, with the former able to move inside, as needed.

"Armstead posted an overall PFF grade just below 90.0 last season after a career year where he racked up 62 total pressures," explained Monson. "Meanwhile, injuries limited Ford, but when he was on the field, he backed up his breakout 2018 season."

Monson wrote last week that defensive lineman Solomon Thomas needs to have a strong training camp and prove himself in the final year of his rookie deal. The analyst repeated that within his latest feature.

Click here to read Monson's entire feature over at Pro Football Focus.

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