INDIANAPOLIS -- Nick Bosa has been wrecking offenses since the San Francisco 49ers drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Bosa was the final link in what became an elite defense in the Bay Area.
The 49ers' run of success can be traced back to Bosa falling into their lap at No. 2 in 2019. It was, in some sense, the spark that lit the fuze. He's the best pass rusher in the NFL. He's a violent sledgehammer that turns even the best offensive game plans to dust.
So when Alabama's Will Anderson name-dropped Bosa several times Wednesday as a guy he molds his game after, the Bears' ears should have perked up. Mine certainly did.
“I like to do the forklift," Anderson said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine when asked for his go-to pass-rush move. "I like to watch Nick Bosa. I like the way he do his bullswipe and stuff like that. I try to implement that in my game.
"Nick Bosa, Von Miller, and Khalil Mack," Anderson later said when asked who he studies. "I watched those guys heavily throughout college."
Chicago got a taste of what a dominant Mack could do to opposing offenses. Miller, who scouts have compared to Anderson, is one of the best pass rushers of the last 10 years.
Getting a game wrecker is something the Bears desperately need on defense.
Unless you just woke up from a year-long coma, you know how the Bears struggled to pressure the quarterback in 2022.
Robert Quinn got off to a slow start before being traded midseason, and the remaining pass rushers failed to make opposing quarterbacks break a sweat on most Sundays.
To win consistently in the modern NFL, you have to be able to protect and affect the quarterback. The Bears plan to prioritize the protecting part in free agency. As for finding a way to pressure the quarterback, the answer might be right in front of their face.
“What makes a great pass rusher is just being able to effect the quarterback, not just sacks," Anderson said. "Get him off his spot, throw interceptions, helping other people make sacks, get him to throw incomplete balls out of bounds. That’s what makes an efficient pass rusher. Not just getting sacks but effecting the quarterback in different ways.”
Anderson recorded 27.5 sacks and 146 pressures in the past two seasons at Alabama.
Last season, Trevis Gipson led the Bears with 30 pressures in 17 games. Safety Jaquan Brisker led the team in sacks with four.
Put simply: The Bears, a team looking for a big, fast, long edge rusher that can disrupt an offense by himself, need what Anderson does.
He has face-of-the-franchise ability. He's a culture changer—a standard setter.
“It’s about what you have in here [pointing to chest]," Anderson said. "That’s what’s carried me to this point in my life. Always knowing that whatever is going on, my mentality, my mindset is not going to change. That’s what I approach the week of practice and that’s what I approach in a game.”
RELATED: Schrock: Bears should see right through Colts' weak smokescreen
The biggest task in front of Bears general manager Ryan Poles is finding the right value in a trade for the No. 1 pick. He has to decide how far down is too far down and draw his line in the sand.
Perhaps Poles' calculus should be: How far can I drop and still buy Anderson a one-way ticket to Chicago?
“The culture is great there and I can tell they are on to something special," Anderson said of his meeting with the Bears.
The Bears believe they have a franchise building block at quarterback in Justin Fields. Anderson faced Fields in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game and knows how dangerous the Bears' quarterback is for opposing defenses.
“He’s a great player," Anderson said of Fields. "Going into that game, we was like, ‘We got to contain him. We can’t let him run all over the place. We got to make sure he stays in the pocket.’ He’s a fantastic athlete. He’s from Georgia as well, so I’m super familiar with him. I’m super excited and I think he is going to have a really great career.”
As dynamic as Fields was running the ball last season, the Bears still desperately need blue-chip, game-changing playmakers.
They currently have one on the roster and none on the defensive side of the ball. It would be malpractice to let a guy nicknamed "The Terminator" get away from them.
"I hope so," Anderson said when asked if the nickname will stick in the NFL. "But I got to earn it."
From the motor to the Nick Bosa/Von Miller comps, everything about Will Anderson is screaming for the Bears to take him.
We'll see if they are listening.