49ers 2021 ‘Who is?’ series: Nick Bosa back better than ever

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

Nick Bosa’s projected impact with 49ers this season

We have to assume Nick Bosa is almost ready to hit that next stride of what’s looking to be a perennial Pro Bowl-type career already. Heck, even at 80 percent, Bosa is still one of the 49ers’ best defensive players, perhaps second only to linebacker Fred Warner in terms of overall importance.

The likelihood, especially early in the year, is the Niners putting a bit of a snap count on Bosa, perhaps giving him approximately 35 to 50 percent of defensive snaps, depending on how much the knee is bothering him. San Francisco’s restocking of the defensive line depth could make for Bosa primarily being a third-down pass-rusher, not frequently seeing the field on run-stopping formations.

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It’s not a bad approach to take either. Considering Bosa still has another two years on his rookie contract, plus a third if the 49ers pick up his fifth-year option, keeping the EDGE fresh and healthy without risking further injury to his reconstructed ACL would be important.

As such, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Bosa’s tackle numbers down in 2021 a bit from the impressive 47 he had his rookie year, yet it also wouldn’t be a shock to see Bosa’s sack numbers jump into the double digits.

Especially if his fellow D-line mates wind up shouldering an important portion of the load, thereby freeing up Bosa for some more beneficial one-on-one pass-rushing situations.

One thing is clear, though: The Niners need Bosa back in a bad way and are an entirely different defense with him in the fray.

And if Bosa responds with an upward-trajectory year in return, 2021 could be awfully special.

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