COSTA MESA -- Nick Bosa looks like a quicker, stronger, leaner version of the player who won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019.
Although he has been relegated to individual drills during 49ers training camp this summer, Bosa looks ready to be unleashed after his 2020 season ended after just 11 snaps of the 49ers’ second game.
Bosa's hard offseason work has resulted in his body fat being lowered to the three percent range. Last month, Bosa said he was performing combine drills much better than he did as he prepared for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans believes Bosa will be better upon his return from a torn ACL in his left knee less than a year ago.
“On the side, it looks really good — I’ll say that,” Ryans said of Bosa. “His drills and all the individual stuff that he’s doing, he’s looking fast, he’s looking explosive. So it’s just a matter of any time guys come off an injury, the biggest hurdle is just mentally.
“Falling on the ground and getting up, and understanding you’re OK. Most guys just have to go through that process. Once he goes through that and sees he’s fine, then I think he’s going to be better than he was his rookie year.”
Bosa was plenty good as a rookie. He registered 47 tackles, 9.0 sacks and 25 QB hits after the 49ers selected him with the No. 2 overall pick. He added four more sacks in the postseason.
The 49ers’ defensive line has looked good this summer, even without Bosa stepping on the field. The 49ers constantly have pressured the quarterbacks of the Los Angeles Chargers in two days of head-to-head practices.
Ryans expects Bosa to help that unit get even better. Bosa is expected to begin participating in 11-on-11 work next week when the 49ers return to practice in Santa Clara.
“All throughout camp, and the past two days, they were causing havoc in the backfield,” Ryans said. “And that’s the identity we want from the D-line.
“Adding Bosa next week, we’ll see how he goes. We’ll ease him back in coming off an injury, it’ll be great just to have him out there and see if his presence will be felt.”