49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa has gotten off to a strong start in 2021, and there are reasons why he’ll emerge as a first-team All-Pro this season.
In 2019, San Francisco 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa showcased to the rest of the NFL world why he was going to be a special player, immediately impacting the Niners defense en route to a nine-sack regular-season campaign and eventual Defensive Rookie of the Year accolade.
All of it pointing to the possibility he’d compete for the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year award, too. Except Bosa’s torn ACL suffered in Week 2 that year put a stop to that lofty hope.
But Bosa is back now. And at least according to perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, the elite pass-rusher is even better than he was before:
Bosa, a one-time Pro Bowler, is already turning San Francisco’s defensive front back into the formidable unit it was two years ago when the team rode the defense all the way to Super Bowl LIV.
Armed with a fully healthy cast of linemen around him, it’s reasonable to assume Bosa doesn’t just record his second Pro Bowl nod but also lands his first first-team All-Pro selection in 2021, too.
The best of the best.
How 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa secures first-team All-Pro honors
It’ll easily be a tougher road for Bosa to get a first-team All-Pro selection, especially based upon the realization there are plenty of elite-level edge rushers also in the mix for the accolade.
Through two weeks, Bosa isn’t even the leading sack-getter in the NFL, that going to the Arizona Cardinals’ Chandler Jones with five, and Bosa finds himself in a six-way tie for third place with three sacks, behind both Jones and the Minnesota Vikings’ Danielle Hunter, who has four.
Two other competitors, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ T.J. Watt and Las Vegas Raiders’ Maxx Crosby, could also contend for one of the two first-team All-Pro spots. And this is without even throwing in other contenders like the Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett.
At any rate, Bosa might have an advantage in the realization Jones’ electric start to the season was probably more of an anomaly, particularly against a suspect Tennessee Titans offensive line, while Watt and Hunter could find themselves on underperforming teams this season, potentially influencing the Associated Press‘ voters who tend to prefer playoff-bound squads.
The kicker, though, is just how effective the 49ers defensive line has been this season, once more relying less on blitzing and instead, using the four-man pass rush, featuring large doses of Bosa and fellow EDGE Dee Ford.
As long as Ford stays healthy, Bosa will continue getting his share of one-on-one matchups, which have so often worked in his favor when he, too, has been healthy.
Nick Bosa must be constant with his sack pace
Bosa is already a third of the way to his rookie-year sack totals over just two games. In Week 3, he’ll have the chance to match up against the Green Bay Packers, a team he dominated both during the 2019 regular season and the 2020 NFC Championship game, recording one sack in each game.
A multi-sack game would be great. But what’ll put Bosa in top contention for a first-team All-Pro award would merely be to have that kind of impact each and every week. Perhaps mixing in a forced fumble or two here and there.
Bosa already has one of those this season, too.
Getting double-digit sacks in 2021 is already in the works, but Bosa will have to exceed 10 by a good margin to outdo the likes of Jones, Watt and many of the others to secure one of two first-team spots.
One of the elements that might help him, though, is how well the Niners defense will look by the end of the season. Granted, their competition to date hasn’t exactly been elite. But San Francisco currently ranks 10th best in points allowed and is allowing just 5.7 yards per pass play, which is ninth best.
But if Bosa continues to play at a high level, it might be his turn to get into that All-Pro discussion and potentially secure the first-team rights once the regular season comes to a close.