It wasn’t an optimistic outlook, but Monday’s MRI results confirmed the worst for the San Francisco 49ers standout.
Per the team’s official account, second-year edge rusher and 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa has had the fears of a torn ACL confirmed by an MRI.
An MRI confirmed Nick Bosa suffered a torn ACL in yesterday's game.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 21, 2020
It’s a brutal injury to say the least, especially after Bosa’s impressive start to his NFL career and importance to the 49ers’ defensive success.
As the 49ers continue to navigate an inordinate amount of injuries, there may not be a harder-hitting one than losing Bosa for the season due to his explosive nature and place within the squad.
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What Bosa Brings
The value that a consistent and successful pass rusher brings to an NFL team is as high as any position on a roster, possibly best evidenced by what elite edge rushers, like Nick Bosa’s brother and Los Angeles Chargers star Joey Bosa, get paid when they earn a second contract.
The 49ers will still be planning to pay Nick Bosa down the road, but they certainly didn’t anticipate losing their new defensive talisman so quickly into his second year.
After recovering from various issues in the preseason, Bosa was ready and looking sharp in San Francisco’s first two games against the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets, although he didn’t get home for any sacks.
The 49ers have built their defense around a dominant defensive line, and they’ve invested a ton to do so, taking a defensive lineman in the first round of every NFL Draft since 2015 save for 2018, when the team took Mike McGlinchey.
DeForest Buckner is the only defensive lineman to move on from the team, but his trade to the Indianapolis Colts got the 49ers a second first-round pick in 2020, which the team used on Javon Kinlaw.
If it isn’t clear, the 49ers have put a ton of proverbial chips on the success of their defensive line, and Bosa was certainly part of that. Now, the team will have to rely on players stepping up elsewhere.
The good news? They’ve done a solid job of accruing enough depth to do so.
The 49ers wasted little time going back to Ziggy Ansah for extra depth, signing the former Seattle Seahawk on Monday.
However, Ansah doesn’t have a straight shot to providing an impact, mostly because names like Kerry Hyder and Kevin Givens have looked relatively solid since joining the team, although, like Bosa, they haven’t quite provided the impact in terms of a sack or forced fumble.
If that trio of edge rushers can contribute, the 49ers will still be able to rely on some strong defensive line play, although not the dominant showing they saw in 2019.
The likely absence of Solomon Thomas and the neck spasms of Dee Ford aren’t going to make things easier, but Arik Armstead is still healthy and going and Kinlaw continues to prove that he looks solid in game.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.