Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, who missed all but the first 2 1/2 games of his final college season, made it to the 49ers’ practice field to participate in only one full practice.
Bosa is still walking around gingerly, a week after sustaining a low-grade right hamstring strain during a practice during the first week of organized team activities in Santa Clara. He likely will continue to be a spectator through the offseason-concluding mandatory team minicamp in mid-June.
Barring a setback in rehabilitation or training, Bosa is not expected to feel any negative impact from the injury when training camp opens in late-July. But Bosa is missing valuable practice snaps with his new team after being selected with the No. 2 overall pick.
“For him, you’d love for him to be out there just so he can go through and get his reps,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “It’s just the mindset and all that stuff that he’s missing, just get his legs under him. He hasn’t played football in a year. To get his sea legs back, if you will. That’s what I feel like he’s missing, but I’m not worried about him being able to catch up.”
Bosa enters the NFL with advanced skills for his age. He benefited from the experiences of his older brother, Joey, who is three years older than him. When Joey went to Ohio State, he worked under highly regarded defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Nick benefitted from the teachings of advanced techniques that his brother and Johnson passed onto him while he was still playing high school football at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
New 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek witnessed Nick Bosa's special qualities from his college film and the brief time he worked with him on the practice field.
“Obviously, (he’s) a very sharp guy, extensive football knowledge,” Kocurek said. “(He) was coached very well in college by his college defensive line coach, so he has a very good understanding of the game, very good understanding of the techniques.
“And then just a good guy that guys seem to want to be around, like being around, and a team guy, an unselfish guy.”
Bosa is expected to make a seamless entry into the team’s starting lineup for the start of the season. He is gaining knowledge of the team’s defensive system through meetings, studying the scheme and paying close attention to others who have played his position. He has also been watching plenty of game film of Ziggy Ansah and Kyle Vanden Bosch, who played defensive end for the Detroit Lions when Kocurek was an assistant there.
“He needs to get as many mental reps as he possibly can, watching the other guys,” Kocurek said. “It's sometimes hard when a guy gets nicked up and he has to watch from the sideline to realistically try to put himself in the play, but that's what he has to do right now because he can't go out there physically until he gets a little better.
“I think he'll be able to get back pretty quickly. He comes from a Big Ten school. He's been at a high level of competition basically his entire life, so I think once we get him back in there he'll integrate back in and be just fine.”