Young 49ers Star Lands Top Honor for Distinguished List

Carson Wentz

Getty Carson Wentz gets pressured during the Colts' October 24, 2021 road game versus the 49ers.

The best 25 under the age of 25 in the NFL is being led by a San Francisco 49ers star.

The analytics website Pro Football Focus unveiled their rankings for the top 25 players under the age of 25 on Tuesday, May 17. And of the 25, it’s a 49ers standout who has become “every bit of the player he was hyped up to be.”

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Nick Bosa Leads Top 25 Group

Nick Bosa, the second overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is the leader among the 25 and younger per PFF.

The website’s writer Trevor Sikkema cited talent and the growing lists of accomplishments from Bosa as to why the 6-foot-4, 266-pound edge rusher spearheads the list of young stars in the league. Here’s what Sikkema wrote:

“Bosa racked up 47 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 16 games and 14 starts across his rookie season. The sky was the limit going into his sophomore campaign, but unfortunately, he tore his ACL in Week 2 and missed the remainder of the year. Then, in 2021, he recorded 15.5 sacks with an elite 90.0 pass-rush grade. When on the field, he’s been every bit of the player he was hyped to be coming out of Ohio State.”

There’s no disputing that Bosa has hit the ground running the moment he became a 49er. Per Pro Football Reference, Bosa has snatched 24.5 regular season sacks in a span of 35 games. He’s delivered six games of swooping up multiple sacks — including the career-best three he snatched in the 51-13 rout of the Carolina Panthers on October 27, 2019 and the two he collected on his former Ohio State teammate turned LSU Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow in the 26-23 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals on December 12, 2021.

Additionally, Bosa has recorded a sack in all six of his playoff appearances, giving him eight for his career. Included in that category: A combined four sacks versus NFC North foes — two in his first career playoff game versus the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional round on January 11, 2020 when facing Kirk Cousins and the pair he collected on Aaron Rodgers in the 13-10 road win over the top seeded Green Bay Packers on January 22, 2022.

Could Bosa Have an Even More Stellar 2022?

There’s already this scary sign for future offensive tackles who have to line up against Bosa and the quarterbacks who have to run from him: Bosa is still young, meaning his best football is still considered ahead of him.

But his age isn’t the only reason why Bosa could be due for a breakout 2022.

The 49ers made some more aggressive moves along the defensive line during the offseason. They brought back familiar face Kerry Hyder (produced a career-high 8.5 sacks in his last stop in S.F.), added fast and twitchy Kemoko Turay from the Indianapolis Colts after his career best 2021 campaign and drafted two more defensive linemen: Drake Jackson and Kalia Davis.

All four bring an explosive first step, strong bend at the point of attack and trench violence to the S.F. front line — which means all four are capable of freeing up Bosa when they’re the ones drawing the line attention. And as 49er fans have seen before, names like Arden Key, Arik Armstead, Kentavius Street and former 49er D.J. Jones have freed up Bosa off their snap explosion and havoc ensues from there. Here’s one example when Bosa isn’t the one who’s double teamed:

But even when he draws multiple hands, chaos still happens as seen here:

The new additions have the potential to make the 49ers faster across the board and give Bosa more room to wreck backfields. But until then, he’s the best under 25 on a list that features Justin Herbert, Jonathan Taylor, Micah Parsons, Ja’Marr Chase and Chase Young.

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