49ers news: Pro Football Focus absolutely botched Nick Bosa, edge rankings

San Francisco 49ers edge Nick Bosa (97)
San Francisco 49ers edge Nick Bosa (97) / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

While Pro Football Focus is good at a lot of things, their latest rankings of edge rushers is a gross mistake, namely where they put the 49ers' Nick Bosa.

The San Francisco 49ers currently have the best defensive player in the game, All-Pro edge rusher Nick Bosa, who happened to take home Defensive Player of the Year honors after his 18.5-sack campaign that led the entire NFL in 2022.

By default, if one is the Defensive Player of the Year, he should be considered the absolute best at his position, right?

According to Pro Football Focus, no.

The folks over at PFF do a lot of good work. Yet it's important to recognize the fact that PFF is comprised of human beings, and human beings are fallable.

Particularly when they don't rank Bosa No. 1 overall on a list of edge rushers heading into the 2023 season.

But that's what happened.

Pro Football Focus wrongly lists Nick Bosa not 1st or 2nd in best edge rushers, but 3rd!

PFF's Trevor Sikkema is awesome at what he does. Seriously, he's worth a follow on Twitter, and his analysis is almost always spot on.

Except for this ranking of the best edges in football entering the 2023 season.

Bosa should be No. 1. After all, the DPOY pretty much states such. However, Sikkema didn't just fall victim to last year's argument about how Dallas Cowboys edge Micah Parsons is a better overall defender than Bosa, but the PFF analyst also tossed in the Cleveland Browns' Myles Garrett at No. 1 overall.

You read that right. Sikkema's edge rankings are as follows:

  1. Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
  2. Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
  3. Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
  4. T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
  5. Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders
  6. Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers

That's just Tier 1 for PFF, and there are plenty of others down the line. However, at least for Niners fans, they likely stop reading once they realized the younger Bosa was third and not first.

The job of an outside pass-rusher is to sack quarterbacks. Bosa led the NFL in that a year ago, and he took home the award that named him the league's best defender as a result. Diving deeper, Bosa's run-stopping abilities aren't exactly a liability either, and PFF credited him with an 81.1 overall grade here, suggesting he's truly a three-down defender and not someone who merely comes in for obvious passing-down situations.

Sikkema's justification:

"This group is the best of the best — and in all honesty — why we used a tiered system for the edge rankings. All six of these players are potential game-wreckers against opposing offenses, but Garrett takes the top spot due to his consistent elite play. This past season was Garrett's fifth straight season where he earned an 89.5-plus overall grade with double-digit sacks, keeping his pass rush win percentage above 22% in three of them.

Parsons finished top five in both pass rush grade (92.2) and win rate (19.6%) over the last two years and is No. 1 in the league in our pass rush productivity metric.

Bosa won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022, as he led the league in pressures (90), finished third in pass rush win percentage (21%), and was stout versus the run (82.6 run defense grade while missing zero tackles as a run defender). "

Read more: Nick Bosa can be even better than his 2022 DPOY season

Perhaps Sikkema reacted to the fact Bosa missed almost all of 2020 because of a torn ACL, so he can't compete with a "fifth straight season where he earned an 89.5-plus overall grade."

Even if we grant PFF the notion that Parsons could be above Bosa because of pass-rush productivity, Garrett doesn't belong at the top.

For the most part, Sikkema's analysis is outstanding.

He got it dead wrong this time around, though.

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