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Nick Bosa, Chris Jones, Micah Parsons finalists for AP defensive player of the year

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze how the 49ers were able to expose Dallas’ offense, as well as how Brock Purdy has proven to be a fearless leader yet again.

There is a clear frontrunner for AP defensive player of the year. But there are still two other contenders who have been named as finalists for the award.

San Francisco’s Nick Bosa, Kansas City’s Chris Jones, and Dallas’ Micah Parsons are the three finalists, the AP announced on Wednesday.

With a league-leading 18.5 sacks on what was the league’s best defense in 2022, it’s likely Bosa’s award to lose. The fourth-year edge rusher also put up 48 quarterback hits, 19 tackles for loss, a pair of forced fumbles, and a pass breakup. Plus, he did it in 16 rather than 17 games, missing one due to injury.

Jones made his case as the league’s best interior lineman in 2022, recording 15.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, 29 quarterback hits, four passes defensed, and a pair of forced fumbles.

After winning AP defensive rookie of the year in 2021 — and finishing second among AP defensive player of the year voting — Parsons had a strong second season. Playing all around Dallas’ defense, he finished with 65 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 27 quarterback hits, 13.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and three passes defensed.

The AP defensive player of the year will be announced during NFL Honors on Feb. 9.