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The 49ers have selected Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
This is the pick a large contingent of the 49ers fanbase has called for since the final weeks of the 2018 season. The only question has been whether Bosa, considered the draft’s top prospect for the past year-plus, would fall to the No. 2 pick. But the Arizona Cardinals selected Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1 overall, leaving Bosa for the 49ers.
The Ohio State product will play the big end spot across from the team’s new LEO, Dee Ford. San Francisco’s pass rush has long been one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. Of the team’s 37 sacks in 2018, which ranked 22nd in the NFL, just 14 of them came from the edge rushers. The lack of pressure contributed to all-time lows — the 49ers tallied two interceptions and forced seven turnovers, which are both the fewest in NFL history.
Now, with five first-round picks dispersed among the defensive line, the pass rush looks like a strength. John Lynch has alluded to the importance of adding a powerful pass rusher in new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek’s system, and Bosa fits that billing.
There has been longstanding interest between Bosa and the 49ers. They met at least thrice prior to the draft, at Ohio State’s Rose Bowl practice in January, the NFL Combine in February, and his Pro Day in March.
During his media availability at the Combine, Bosa envisioned his fit with the 49ers.
“They got really good interior guys right now,” he said. “They just need help on the edge is what they told me. I think I would be a true defensive end there, hand in the dirt. That’s something I like about them, for sure.”
A couple weeks earlier, Bosa went on KNBR and spoke about the talent on the 49ers roster.
“I’d be lucky to get picked by them,” Bosa told Gary & Larry. “I mean, the roster for a team that’s picking No. 2 is a really stacked roster. They had the injury at quarterback that obviously allowed them to get this high in the draft. I think it would be cool definitely to go play for a team that is closer than most people think to being a contender.”
Bosa’s best college season came as a sophomore, when he amassed 8.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2017. He played in just three games in 2018, but he produced four sacks. His final college season ended early after having surgery to repair a core muscle injury, but he has noted he is fully recovered and feels better than ever.