San Francisco

Nick Bosa Expected to Be Among NFL's Top Rookies

Though 49ers' top pick hasn't yet signed and was bothered by an injury this spring, his talent, drive and similarities to older brother Joey mark him as a clear contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year

The 49ers have not yet signed their No. 1 draft pick, defensive end Nick Bosa.

And, Bosa suffered a slight hamstring injury in workouts this spring and missed practice during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

So, of course, there are a few question marks hanging over the head of San Francisco’s top rookie, who also must adjust to the NFL game after excelling at Ohio State.

Yet few NFL analysts believe Bosa won’t be a success in his rookie season, if he’s healthy and signed to participate in a full training camp and exhibition schedule.

As Bosa’s defensive line coach at Ohio State said this spring, Bosa has a "great passion for the game" and puts in the work and effort to be better every day.

Now. analyst Lance Zierlein has ranked Bosa No. 3 in his projection of the NFL’s top candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Zierlein points to all the similarities between Nick Bosa and his older brother, Joey, the Chargers’ defensive end who was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016.

Joey Bosa, also a first-round pick out of Ohio State, was limited to just seven games in 2018 because of an injury, but has had a major impact on the Chargers. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2017 when he had 12½ sacks, and has 28½ sacks in 35 games.

Wrote Zierlein: "The similarities of strength and hand usage (with Joey) have to be accounted for when considering Nick’s chances here. With such a talented defensive front alongside him, the No. 2 overall pick should get plenty of one-on-one looks. His production could see an additional bump if the 49ers turn him loose as an interior rusher from time to time."

The only players Zierlein ranks above Bosa as Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates are Bucs linebacker Devin White and Bills tackle Ed Oliver.

The 49ers are scheduled to open training camp July 26.

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