Jimmy Garoppolo’s return at quarterback for the 49ers will be huge. So will the additions of running back Tevin Coleman and linebacker Kwon Alexander.
But the new duo of defensive ends could be among the most impactful additions in the NFL in 2019.
Top rookie pick Nick Bosa and former Chiefs veteran pass rusher Dee Ford will line up on the edges for the 49ers this season to energize the San Francisco pass rush, which was one of the team’s major weaknesses in 2018 (only 37 sacks). Michael Renner of the analytic website Pro Football Focus has put both Bosa and Ford on his list of 10 newcomers he expects to make immediate positive impacts on their teams this season. He ranks Ford at No. 5 and Bosa at No. 6. Ford was tied for seventh in the NFL in 2018 with 13 sacks.
Renner’s assessment of each:
Ford: "While the Lions were the worst edge group in the NFL last year, the 49ers were quite comfortably the second worst. Ford will likely come down to earth a good ways from his 78 pressures and 91.0 pass-rushing grade from last year, but even two-thirds of that level would still be an improvement."
Bosa: "Ford gets the slight nod over Bosa, but don’t be surprised if the latter turns out to be the star in San Francisco. Health is really my only worry with Bosa at the NFL level, as Nick looks every bit as good as his brother Joey (Chargers) coming out. That’s good news, as the elder Bosa racked up 59 pressures in only 12 games as a rookie."
Peter Panacy of the website 49erswebzone.com, notes that the inside pressure from tackle DeForest Buckner, who had 12 sacks in 2018, will also help Ford and Bosa succeed. With Buckner, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas inside, opponents who focus only on stopping Ford and Bosa could pay a price.
"With Bosa and Ford now in the mix … one should expect the total number of 49ers sacks and pressures to increase dramatically," wrote Panacy.
Niners players are scheduled to report for training camp July 26.