Nick Bosa expects to be comfortable right away in San Francisco — and not just because the 49ers also wear red.
The Ohio State defensive end who was taken No. 2 in the NFL Draft on Thursday night is set to join a team that was considered among the league’s up-and-comers last season thanks largely to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but the 49ers’ fortunes tanked when he went down with a torn knee ligament in Week 3.
They struggled offensively without their franchise quarterback but were also among the worst defenses in the league.
Bosa will hope to help change the latter, but he won’t be alone as a high draft pick on the 49ers front, which also includes recent first-round picks DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas along with recently acquired Pro Bowl end Dee Ford.
“It's unbelievable,” he told reporters on a conference call after being selected. “Just to be on a team that really shouldn't have been this high in the draft with all the talent that they have, and then they add Dee Ford, which just makes this D line pretty scary.
With the ability to play both inside and out, Bosa should find an opportunity to contribute without having to carry the unit from the start (much like the situation he found as a freshman at Ohio State).
“It's pretty impossible to double team any of us because then you're single teaming one of us. It's going to be fun,” he said, adding he sees similarities between the defense the 49ers run and Ohio State’s.
“It was pretty clear to me on my visit how they were going to use me, and I think it's very similar to what I did at Ohio State,” Bosa said. “A few different things, but I'll just pick those things up quick and it'll be a quick transition.”
San Francisco general manager John Lynch told reporters at a press conference after round one of the draft Bosa is a player the franchise coveted for a long time.
“Probably every time we watch him, it gets better,” Lynch said, adding that the organization was impressed with how he was received when he visited an Ohio State practice in Southern California prior to the Rose Bowl.
It was the first time Bosa was reunited with the team after his decision to withdraw from school in October to focus on rehabbing a core muscle injury that ending his season after three games.
“I think the most indelible memory with him was myself and (49ers vice president of player personnel) Adam Peters went down to watch Ohio State,” Lynch said. “They’ve got a ton of prospects and we were at Rose Bowl practice at the StubHub Center and it was very fortuitous for us because Nick Bosa decided to show up at practice. He was away from the team all year and showed up in sunglasses and shorts and organically we watched and the entire practice stopped and every player, every coach, every student manager on that team embraced Nick Bosa and that spoke to me that here they are with Urban Meyer who is a pretty intense coach and he jus let it happen. It just happened very organically.
"I think in a situation where they could have had some animosity for a guy who made a decision to leave his team to get ready for his next step in his career, in his professional career, instead they all were appreciative of a guy who they had a ton of respect for.
“We did a lot of talking to coaches and a lot of talking to his teammates and what they’ll tell you is he is one of the most beloved payers that’s ever been through there and that spoke volumes to us.”
Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan both prioritize the defensive line and feel good about the unit they have been able to assemble.
Lynch said Bosa impressed him with his mix of speed and power, “and then he’s an absolute technician with the hands. Kyle jokes a lot it looks like he’s been since he was 3 years old doing pass rush moves with his family. He’s so proficient.”
The coach sees Bosa as a player who can help the team in all defensive situations immediately.
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