The San Francisco 49ers are expected by many to be serious contenders for a spot in the Super Bowl this season, and one of the biggest reasons is their defense.
They ranked ninth in points allowed, seventh in rushing yards allowed, sixth in passing yards allowed, and third in total yards allowed last season as they nearly knocked off the eventual world champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
One of the 49ers’ biggest stalwarts on that side of the football is defensive end Nick Bosa.
In his three NFL seasons, Bosa (when healthy) has been a pass-rushing force, and he has been doing very well during training camp.
This week, San Francisco has been participating in joint practices with the Minnesota Vikings, and Bosa has stood out.
Bosa Made His Presence Felt
The Niners and Vikings held two joint practices, and in the second one on Thursday, Bosa was a beast.
He had multiple sacks and wreaked havoc on Minnesota’s offensive line.
— 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙎𝙁𝙉𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨 (@TheSFNiners) August 18, 2022
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had a tough time eluding Bosa, as one can see in the video above.
But Bosa also cut down the Vikings’ running game, as he snuffed out running back Alexander Mattison on this snap.
49ers Nick Bosa popped Vikings RB Alexander Mattison pic.twitter.com/GN6yGChqSs
— Brad (@Graham_SFN) August 17, 2022
Bosa, the second overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has dealt with some injuries during his short career, most notably a torn ACL during the 2020 season that limited him to just two games that year.
But other than that, he has been dynamite.
He had nine sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 25 quarterback hits during his rookie campaign, leading to him winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and being named to the Pro Bowl.
Last season, he recorded 15.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, 32 QB hits, and an NFL-high 21 tackles for loss as he earned another Pro Bowl nod.
In the 49ers’ win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round, Bosa helped blunt the Packers’ normally potent air game by sacking Aaron Rodgers twice.
Nick Bosa Sacked Aaron Rodgers!✊️
🐻 You ain’t going No where! #FTTB
2021 NFC Divisional 49ers vs Packers pic.twitter.com/LCIldmHEtW
— 49ers Throwback ❤💛 (@49ers_Throwback) June 24, 2022
— Sᴘᴏʀᴛs 24/7 (@Sports_24x7_) January 23, 2022
With a little more support around him defensively, Niners fans are excited to watch him perhaps have his strongest season yet this year.
Drake Jackson Could Be A Gem
The Niners took Drake Jackson, an edge rusher from the University of Southern California, with the 61st pick in the second round of this year’s draft.
He has shown thus far in camp that he has to potential to contribute right away.
Although he didn’t play much in the team’s first preseason game last week due to a shoulder injury, he showed what he can do to disrupt the opposing team’s offense.
Lol the NFL really let this dude Drake Jackson slip to SF in the late second. He might end up better than Hutchinson! pic.twitter.com/z2TTMbAfcD
— Rich (@richjmadrid) August 15, 2022
Jackson also put in some good work during the Niners’ joint practices with the Vikings this week.
— Steph Sanchez (@stragosaurus) August 18, 2022
If Jackson gets significant playing time on San Francisco’s front seven, he could take some pressure off Bosa and possibly even reduce his workload a bit.
This could, in turn, make Bosa even better by making it easier for him to focus on certain situations and make him more efficient in being successful in those situations.