49ers winner: EDGE Nick Bosa
A year ago, San Francisco recorded 48 sacks, which was tied for fifth-best in the NFL. Of those, 15.5 came from Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa.
No other player on the 49ers roster registered seven or more, though, meaning Bosa had to effectively shoulder the load here. As such, he was frequently the No. 1 focal point for opponents’ blocking schemes.
Good thing the 2022 NFL Draft was deep with pass-rushers, and the Niners got a promising up-and-comer with Drake Jackson.
Sure, Jackson didn’t boast the stats to suggest elite-level production, having just 12.5 over three years with the Trojans. He also struggled with some inconsistency, too, frequently changing his weight as USC frequently adjusted its defensive alignments.
However, as far as bend and twitch, Jackson can be elite. Working with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek should help get the most out of the rookie, too, meaning Bosa won’t likely have to face quite as many chip blocks and double teams as he did a year ago.
San Francisco’s pass rush was at its most effective point back in 2019 when both Bosa and oft-injured EDGE Dee Ford were on the field at the same time.
With Jackson now poised to take over Ford’s role (and more), Bosa’s prowess should be felt even greater in 2022 and beyond.