Nick Bosa was as highly-rated as they come entering the NFL draft.
The Ohio State product was the presumptive No. 1 overall pick for almost all of last year until the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury and elected to alter the course of their franchise by selecting 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray with the top pick.
That allowed Bosa to fall to No. 2 where the 49ers quickly gobbled him up, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Through the first seven games of the season, the 49ers have stunned everyone, going 7-0 thanks to a vaunted defensive line that is led by -- you guessed it -- Bosa.
After recording three sacks and an interception in the 49ers' Week 8 romp over the Panthers, Bosa not only is the favorite to take home Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, but he also might win Defensive Player of the Year, as well.
So, what makes Bosa so special?
Teammate Richard Sherman knows, and the veteran cornerback is not surprised by the rookie's production.
"No," Sherman told The MMQB when asked if he was surprised by Bosa's start. "We tried to explain it to you guys, honestly. That’s people not paying attention. I think him not having a preseason [due to an ankle injury], nobody got to see what we saw. ... But we saw it every day in practice. Joe Staley’s an All-Pro tackle and has been very consistent for the past 12, 13 years. And [Bosa] beat him pretty consistently when he’s on his stuff. Obviously, Joe is an All-Pro, he’s gonna get his—but nobody else on our team, and no one else since I’ve been here, has ever beat him as consistently as Bosa could. And I think he would say it too.
"[Bosa] is an immense talent and I think the world's finally getting to see it, man. I’ve never seen a rookie with this kind of poise, this kind of dominance—and just such a humble kid."
Bosa has hit the ground running, dominating each and every opponent that has lined up across from him. No one has been able to stop the rookie edge rusher from getting in the backfield, a credit to the coaching Bosa has received and the work ethic he shows.
All that makes him one of a kind.
"You can tell he’s been so well-coached, obviously from a young age," Sherman said. "He can beat you with just about every move, he’s so strong in both his upper and lower body that he can walk through an inside move, he can beat you double-swipe on the outside, he can spin back inside, or he can just overpower you and put the tackle in the quarterback’s lap. That’s incredibly tough to deal with, and I’ve never seen a rookie come in here and give every tackle that he’s seen problems.
"He’s gone against some good ones, you know. [Pittsburgh’s Alejandro] Villanueva is a good one, [Rams’ Andrew] Whitworth is a good one, these are legends, these are guys that have been playing 10-plus years and been doing a great job. And he puts them in the quarterback’s lap and has folded them up like folding chairs—and you don’t see that. He’s like, ‘I’m dominating these guys.’ He just lines up and gets to the next play."
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Bosa has been a one-man wrecking crew for the undefeated Niners, and there are no signs of him slowing down anytime soon.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has one of the best defensive lines in the league, as Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Dee Ford have formed into an unstoppable force that has the 49ers as one of two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL.
The scary thing? Bosa only is going to get better.