49ers roster: 5 most important defensive players entering 2021

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Most Important Defender No. 2: EDGE Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa could easily take home the award for the Niners’ most talented defender heading into 2021 despite coming off an ACL tear a year ago.

Few would argue it. Pro Football Focus just ranked him the No. 4 best player under 25 years of age entering this season. And that’s with only one full game of production last year under his belt.

As fun as it would be to tout Bosa’s talents, this is more about the importance, and there’s no doubting Bosa is vitally important to both San Francisco’s pass-rushing efforts and run-stopping abilities, areas in which he showcased his value aplenty during his rookie 2019 campaign.

For the 49ers’ 2021 pass rush to be highly successful, Bosa will need to eclipse his rookie-year sack totals of nine. Especially if fellow EDGE Dee Ford remains out with a serious back injury.

Granted, the hand-in-glove nature of the league means Bosa must rely on fellow linemates like Javon Kinlaw to help him generate more opportunities. Yet opposing teams are also going to recognize Bosa’s impact and scheme against him accordingly.

Overcoming those challenges won’t be easy, but they’re going to be vital in ensuring the Niners defense maintains the prowess it has had over the last two years.