Pro Football Focus: 49ers Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Dre Greenlaw to 2019 rookie team

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The folks over at Pro Football Focus saw some San Francisco 49ers rookie talent in 2019, naming EDGE Nick Bosa, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and linebacker Dre Greenlaw to their “All-Rookie Team.”

The San Francisco 49ers received some excellent production from their 2019 NFL Draft class, particularly the top two picks, EDGE Nick Bosa and wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick in 2019, finished the year with nine sacks and was a general wrecking ball throughout the entire season, even though his sack production lessened during the second half of the year.

Samuel, meanwhile, finished with 802 receiving yards on the season, and his 961 yards from scrimmage were actually higher than Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s 1985 rookie campaign.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise our friends over at Pro Football Focus named both Bosa and Samuel to their 2019 “All-Rookie Team,” where they picked the 22 best first-year players by position.

Of Bosa, PFF’s breakdown was fairly straightforward and obvious:

"You just don’t see rookies edge defenders come into the NFL and have the kind of impact that Bosa has this season, and it’s why he was named PFF’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. His 80 total pressures as a rookie were 14 more than any rookie edge defender has recorded in a single season since the start of the PFF era back in 2006. The havoc that he created in opposing backfields all year landed him an 86.7 overall grade that was nearly identical to the 86.6 overall grade posted by his brother, Joey Bosa, back in his rookie season of 2016."

Samuel’s ascent has been fun to watch. And while it took him the first half of the season to get going, and one could make the argument the 49ers’ midseason trade for veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders helped, Samuel has quickly earned the reputation for being a true game changer for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

PFF was equally as complimentary:

"If it weren’t for [Tennessee Titans’ A.J.] Brown’s brilliance after the catch, we would be talking more about just how absurd Samuel’s numbers have been in his rookie season. His 8.5 yards after the catch per reception trail Brown, but they’re 1.8 yards more than the next closest qualifier (Chris Godwin). His acceleration and elusiveness in the open field has been a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense."

PFF did mention Samuel’s issues with dropping the ball, citing the 10 they credited to him this season. But the positives have far outweighed the negatives.

Yet there’s a third player who graced the ranks of PFF’s 2019 “All-Rookie Team,” linebacker Dre Greenlaw.

Greenlaw was going to be a starter this season as the team’s primary strong-side (SAM) backer. But given the league’s tendency to shift from base formations to more nickel and dime packages, SAM linebackers have essentially become rotational players.

As such, Greenlaw was pegged to be a primary backup behind starters, Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander.

Yet Alexander’s torn pectoral against the Arizona Cardinals thrust Greenlaw into a prominent role, where he also earned some recognition from PFF:

"This second spot came down to Devin Bush and Greenlaw, but Greenlaw edged him out in both overall grade and coverage grade to earn the All-Rookie nod. Greenlaw’s success in coverage wasn’t limited to his big tackle on the goal line that clinched the NFC West. He was one of the best linebackers in the league at limiting receiving production. Among linebackers who were targeted 50 or more times this year, only Darius Leonard, Jayon Brown and Eric Kendricks allowed a lower passer rating than Greenlaw’s mark of 83.6."

In today’s pass-happy NFL, linebackers are asked to provide more coverage abilities than ever before.

Greenlaw seems to be excelling in this, although there have been times he bit on play-action fakes.

Still, he more than made up for any of those with his NFC West-saving goal-line tackle against the Seattle Seahawks in the waning seconds of Week 17.

dark. Next. Grading each 49ers 2019 NFL Draft pick after one year

It seems that play helped boost Greenlaw’s stock in PFF’s all-rookie squad, which is great. But what’s more crucial is the fact the 49ers have received some notable production from their cast of first-year players, which only bodes well for the franchise in coming years.