Nick Bosa is eager to put on an encore performance to his imposing rookie season. The former first-round pick earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors following a team-leading 13-sack campaign, postseason included. While training in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he's already working on getting a head start to the 2020 season, which begins with the 49ers newest left tackle, Trent Williams.
San Francisco acquired Williams in a trade with the Washington Redskins as an incumbent replacement for retired left tackle, Joe Staley. Bosa admitted he's begun prep work on San Francisco's newest left tackle so he wouldn't be "caught off guard" by the seven-time Pro Bowler once training camp rolls around.
"He's a really good athlete. I think the biggest thing that stands out is his athleticism and his feet," Bosa said of Williams. "He's able to recover. I think I saw a rep where somebody spun on him and he got beat. But the way he moves his feet, he moves his feet like a receiver. He moves his feet so well and stays in front of guys. Obviously, he's massive, so it's tough to power him. But he's definitely one of the best in the league, so it will be fun to practice against him."
Williams is a good barometer for Bosa and vice versa. Referred to as "one of the best left tackles in football," Williams missed the 2019 season following a dispute with the Redskins front office, however gave up just one sack in his last two active seasons in the NFL. Over his nine-year NFL career, Williams has ranked inside the top 10 in Pro Football Focus' grades among tackles four times, leading the position twice. As the second-year pass rusher is set to practice against a left tackle not named Staley, Bosa makes a welcomed sparring partner as Williams gets re-acclimated to the NFL.
Doing your homework on your new left tackle is one way to get a head start on the season. Getting familiar with your upcoming opponents is another. The NFL is set to release the 2020 NFL schedule on Thursday. Although the 49ers have known their opponents since the close of the 2019 regular season, defensive line coach Kris Kocurek has already begun the grunt work, cutting up film of offensive tackles that lie ahead on San Francisco's impending schedule.
"I've started looking at some film of some guys already," Bosa told the media on Wednesday. "We get all the cut ups of the tackles. Kris does a good job at that - keeping us prepared. I think that's one of the biggest things as a defensive end and that's knowing your opponent."
San Francisco's defensive line will be working overtime to get rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw up to speed. Typically around this time of year, rookie minicamps are underway, getting first-year players acclimated to NFL schemes and their first dive into their new team's playbook. Bosa presumes it won't be too difficult of a transition for the fellow first-round pick as he believes Kinlaw already possesses the makeup of what made San Francisco's D-line successful in 2019.
"He embodies what we do as a D-line." Bosa said. "The way he plays the run. He's just a beast. He plays the run like we play it. He gets off the ball really fast. He's just a giant human. I'm really excited. He seems like a good dude and I've been talking to him a little bit. I can't wait."
For now, the video cut ups and team meetings will continue on the track of distance learning as team facilities remain closed amid coronavirus concerns. Although all teams will be dealing with similar challenges of "virtually" grasping complex playbooks in a modified offseason, Bosa believes San Francisco's recent success will play to the 49ers advantage in preparations for the 2020 season.
"I think just our team in general and our coach, they trust us. They draft the right people and sign the right people that are mature and just set the right standard for everybody else," Bosa added. "I think all of our guys are training hard still and I think when camp rolls around, we're going to not miss a beat. We're going to get right to it. It might take a couple of practices, but I'm confident in our team. Now that we've been together, our D-line's been together and most of the guys have been there, I think we're going to be one of the teams that really take advantage of this."