5 players 49ers can’t afford to lose to injury in 2020

Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, 49ers
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

No. 2: 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa

Another one of the reasons why San Francisco’s defense was so prolific in 2019 was the quick ascent of rookie EDGE Nick Bosa, who propelled his way to a top force and earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and a first-season Pro Bowl accolade.

While he wasn’t the sole reason, Bosa was a big part of the 49ers’ efforts to net 48 sacks last season, which tied the team for fifth best in the entire NFL.

The scope for the Niners defense is notably different heading into 2020, particularly after the team traded away Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, subsequently drafting South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw to replace him.

Kinlaw could be exceptional, yes. But there’s still going to be a lot more pressure on Bosa to deliver this season.

This is especially true considering fellow EDGE Dee Ford’s recent injury history with San Francisco, which hindered the team’s pass-rushing efforts late in the season. Ford is expected back healthy in 2020, yes.

But if he isn’t, Bosa’s value to the 49ers defense increases exponentially.

Bosa’s abdominal injury his final year at Ohio State received a lot of attention, sure. Yet any other kind of injury keeping him out for an elongated period of time would put far too much pressure on a defensive front not capable of replicating the same efforts without him.