No. 2: 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa
There aren’t many players in the NFL who can singlehandedly destroy an opposing offense’s game plan. Luckily for San Francisco, Nick Bosa is one of those players.
In 2021, only his second full season in the league, Bosa finished with 15.5 sacks, the fourth-most in the NFL.
And the sack totals don’t tell the whole story. Take a look at this graph here:
Of the top 50 players in pass-rush win rate in 2021, the only one who finished higher than Bosa in PRWR and had a higher double team rate was Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who will go down as one of the greatest NFL defenders of all time.
Not bad company.
Looking at the three players ahead of Bosa in sacks last season, Myles Garrett, Robert Quinn, and T.J. Watt, none of them were double-teamed as much as Bosa. As discussed earlier, the Niners hope for rookie pass-rusher Drake Jackson to be enough of a threat that teams can’t double Bosa as much.
If Bosa is doubled less, his numbers should only rise.
But even if Bosa’s production stays the same, well, 15.5 sacks is enough to make anyone crucially important to a team’s success. The 49ers’ pass rush is one of their core focuses on defense, and that pass rush runs through Bosa.
For that reason, he’s the Niners’ second most important player.