It’s been painfully obvious what the 49ers need most on their defense and that’s a consistent edge rusher who can get to the quarterback. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, but what I don’t know I research. Here are five prospects I found that could be available and of interest for General Manager John Lynch come April 25th.
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
In his sophomore year with the Buckeyes, Bosa became a starting defensive end after just seven games. He was named to the First Team All-Big Ten and the Smith-Brown Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year for having 32 total tackles with 14.5 for a loss and leading the team in sacks with seven. Bosa was also credited with two pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries, and a blocked kick. On September 20, 2018, it was reported that Bosa underwent core muscle surgery, ruling him out indefinitely for the rest of the season.
Greg Gabriel of pro-football weekly believes Nick Bosa is a natural 4-3 defensive end, but with his athleticism, thinks he can easily play as an outside linebacker in a base 3-4 scheme. “Regardless, on pass downs, his hand is going to be in the dirt as a pass rusher. Because his older brother is already a mature NFL player, Nick should “get it” and be ready and prepared to take on the rigors of the NFL. Once Nick gets to the NFL, he should endure fewer growing pains than an ordinary rookie”.
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Ferrell was named to the 2017 College Football All-America Team after his red-shirted sophomore season where he led Clemson in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (8.5).
In Greg Gabriel’s opinion, Ferrell is good as a pass rusher, but not great. “He gets off the ball quickly but he’s not explosive and lacks the ability to dip under his opponents when coming off the edge. He has some moves and can counter back to the inside as well as bull rush. We also see a spin move at times. When compared to Bradley Chubb, whom the Denver Broncos selected fifth overall in April, Ferrell doesn’t have anywhere near the burst or overall explosiveness”.
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Prior to Florida, Polite led his high school team to an 11-2 record as a senior and a berth in the Class 6A Regional Finals. Polite was named Class 6A Second Team All-State as a junior in 2014. That year he had 81 tackles (43 solo), 13 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 7 passes deflected. In his senior season he had 10 tackles (6 solo), four sacks, 1 fumble recovery.
According to Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports, at 6-foot-2 and 242 pounds, Polite has the ideal size to be a stand-up edge-rusher who can threaten the kick-slide speed of every offensive tackle in the NFL. “Right now, he looks like a classic second-round pick, but if Polite continues on his current trajectory, the first round isn’t out of the question”.
Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
Burns had been a standout dating back to his career at American Heritage, when he played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and earned first-team All-Broward County honors from the Miami Herald. The edge rusher logged 60 tackles and 14 sacks as a senior year with the Patriots. At 6 feet, 5 inches and 235 pounds, Burns has always possessed the frame scouts look for, as well.
Burns’ 6-5, 235 frame is not one of a traditional defensive end. He may have some difficulties getting into shoving matches with offensive tackles, but has the speed and quickness to swim right by them.
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Allen was a three-year starter, earning All-SEC honors as a junior and being one of 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award. He ranked No. 3 in the country in tackles for loss per game, leading Kentucky’s defense in the first five weeks of the 2018 season.
Greg Gabriel thinks Allen looks to be a Day Two or even an early Day Three prospect. “He is not that far away from being a possible premium-round guy. With some added strength and explosion this offseason, he could become one of the more improved players in the country. The arrow is definitely going up for Allen. Playing in the SEC, he faces the best competition in college football, so it won’t take much for him to improve his draft stock”.
- ^Maya, Adam (Sept. 20, 2018). “Nick Bosa has core muscle surgery, out indefinitely”. NFL.com. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2018.
- ^Gabriel, Greg (July 2, 2018). “Greg Gabriel early 2019 NFL Draft breakdown: Ohio State DE Nick Bosa”. profootballweekly.com. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2018.
- ^Holcomb, Dave (December 11, 2017). “Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell named first-team All-America”. diehards.com. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2018.
- ^Gabriel, Greg (Aug. 11, 2018). “Greg Gabriel early 2019 NFL Draft breakdown: Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell”. profootballweekly.com. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2018.
- ^Trapasso, Chris (Oct. 2, 2018). “NFL Draft 2019: Jachai Polite, Oshane Ximines and the unheralded edge-rushers with serious NFL talent”. cbssports.com. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2018.
- ^Wilson, David (Oct. 11, 2018). “This FSU star and South Floridian is climbing draft boards after big game against Canes”. miamiherald.com. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2018
- ^Gabriel, Greg (Aug. 20, 2018). “Greg Gabriel early 2019 NFL Draft breakdown: Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen”. profootballweekly.com. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2018.