49ers 2020 ‘Who Is?’ series: Nick Bosa is Niners’ best defender

Defensive lineman Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Defensive lineman Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, 49ers
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Nick Bosa’s expected role with 49ers in 2020

With DeForest Buckner gone, Nick Bosa is now San Francisco’s top defender and will be other teams’ primary focal point; one of those players for whom other teams must account at every point he’s on the field.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

This is fantastic, of course, and it’s a great situation the 49ers find themselves in.

Another good note is Bosa can line up at either side of the line. While he primarily rushed off the right side in 2019 (359 snaps here compared to 103 from the left, according to Pro Football Focus), being able to utilize him in various situations and in specific matchups is a bonus for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

Simply put, Bosa can be anywhere anytime.

One should also expect Bosa to be a three-down lineman, too, as his run-stopping efforts were just as noteworthy as his already-prolific pass-rushing prowess was in 2019. Considering how important it is to get a team’s best players on the field as much as possible, Bosa has already checked that box.

The key for Bosa in 2020 will be, of course, the health and production from his supporting cast. This was San Francisco’s defensive mantra in 2019, and fans saw what happened when the defensive line suffered attrition late in the year. Dee Ford, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw have to be as prolific as possible, too, to make Bosa’s presence that much more valuable.

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If this formula works out to desired expectations, though, one should expect the second-year edge rusher to reach double-digit sacks, another Pro Bowl nod, a first-team All-Pro selection and perhaps even consideration for Defensive Player of the Year honors.