“You’re on the Clock”: Beware the Little Bro (2019 NFL Draft Part 2 of 6)
The “You’re on the Clock” segments are draft analysis series that are put together by HTN contributor Matthew Watson to provide you with some preparation and intrigue before the big night. In this series, Matt provides his thoughts on the top 5 draft slots in the 2019 NFL draft, including depth chart analysis, prospect reviews and team strategies. The series begins on April 15th with the Arizona Cardinals and the #1 draft selection and finishes on April 25th with a summary and final thoughts. Feel free to leave your own comments on the post with your own thoughts about each pick!
Second pick: San Francisco 49ers
All the signs point to: EDGE Nick Bosa
Matt’s Maneuvers to consider: Don’t overthink this one, just draft Bosa
2018 Season Recap
This past season was truly a tragic story for the feisty 49ers. A trendy pick to wreak some havoc in the NFC with Tom Brady prodigy Jimmy Garappolo at the helm for a full season and exciting young skill players, it was expected that the 49ers would make some noise. However, the injury bug hit the 49ers the worst out of anyone last season taking Jimmy G out starting week 4, and punishing OG Jonathan Cooper, HB Jerick McKinnon, WR Pierre Garcon and WR Marquise Goodwin. With a multitude of injuries in the defensive secondary as well, the 49ers weren’t given much of a chance.
I must give a shout-out to head coach Kyle Shanahan for keeping the team competitive throughout much of the second-half. Even though they finished 4-12, an overtime victory against Seattle and close games against the LA Chargers, the Packers and the Bears proved that this team could hang with the big boys and just need a few more key pieces to become a legitimate threat in the NFC West.
With all the injuries in the prior season, it was a great chance for some depth players to show what they are capable of:
Matt Brieda led the team in rushing and averaged an outstanding 5.3 yards per carry.
George Kittle finally exploded onto the scene as one of the league’s premium tight-ends with a ridiculous 1377 receiving yards and added 5 touchdowns.
2nd round pick WR Dante Pettis provided us with glimpses of his potential by chipping in 400 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns of his own.
The 49ers made waves this offseason with some big-time acquisitions. They added a proven playmaker in Tevin Coleman to the backfield stable and signed WR Jordan Matthews to give Jimmy G a reliable veteran target.
On the defensive side they traded for ferocious edge rusher Dee Ford, nabbed free agent linebacker Kwon Alexander and found a potential running mate for Richard Sherman at cornerback with the talented but injury-prone Jason Verrett. If Verrett can stay healthy, the 49ers may finally have a legitimate cornerback tandem.
I have been impressed with general manager John Lynch ever since he took over the position and this offseason simply reinforced that impression. These moves were very calculated, and all add valuable role players with significant upside. If Jimmy G can stay healthy for a full season I believe that San Francisco is a good draft pick or two away from being a legitimate contender in the NFC West.
Speaking of a draft, there’s one in a few weeks and San Fran has the #2 selection. With the overwhelming expectation that Kyler Murray is being taken first overall, the 49ers attention now shifts to the best available player in the draft, which many consider to be Joey Bosa’s younger brother Nick. You take a few moments to watch a few of Nick’s highlights with Ohio State and it’s not hard to see why. Bosa has a dangerous combination of ferocity and intelligence that makes him a very clever edge rusher. You watch him early in games just simply overpower a slow offensive tackle to the outside, and then later when the tackle tries to adjust and move wide, Bosa pops a quick swim-move inside instead and maintain pressure on a panicked quarterback. He also has shown the ability to easily shed his block and make a tackle on outside runs and overall just be a threat every time he’s on the field.
When looking at the depth chart the only liabilities that jump out at me are safety, the interior offensive line and potentially some pieces of the front 7 defensively. With no bona fide “top 10” safeties or interior lineman in the draft, I really don’t see a reason why San Francisco should not take Nick Bosa. There is some debate as to whether star defensive linemen Quinnen Williams or Ed Oliver should be considered for the top defensive spot in the draft, however I don’t see the 49ers taking a defensive lineman until much later, maybe in the late rounds. They already have a talented interior with Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and the versatile Solomon Thomas, and another pick at that position would create a log-jam where there is already a plethora of talent and lost playing time for one of these skilled individuals.
On the off chance that Arizona defies all expectations and takes Bosa first overall instead, San Francisco has an easy fall-back strategy in drafting edge rusher Josh Allen (widely considered the second-best edge rusher). However, I don’t see this as a legitimate possibility as the QB class is highly questionable this year beyond Kyler Murray (I’m looking at you Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock). As per Part 1 of this series, I can see the current possibilities as Arizona drafting Murray or Arizona trading the pick to someone else who would proceed to draft Kyler.
It’s not often that you get a chance as the second pick to draft the best player available in the NFL draft and I don’t want the 49ers to overthink this pick. Having the ability to send Bosa and Dee Ford off the edge and have interior pressure from players like DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead is absolutely terrifying for any opposing quarterback to think about. In a division with standout QBs like Jared Goff, Russell Wilson and potentially Kyler Murray, the 49ers will need to get as much pressure as they possibly can to give their secondary a chance.
If I was the 49ers GM, I would be looking to maximize this pick as, under the assumption that everyone stays healthy, the 49ers will be looking to take a major step forward and may not pick this high in the next several years. Don’t trade down, don’t overthink it, just draft Bosa and get ready to roll with Jimmy G as far as he will take you. I would take a serious look at interior offensive linemen, safeties and potentially another receiver in rounds 2 through 4, but Nick Bosa is the pick at #2 overall, and barring any shenanigans come draft night any other pick would come as a surprise to me.