Kyle Shanahan knows that games aren't won on paper. That doesn't mean it isn't awfully enjoyable for him to look at the San Francisco 49ers depth chart along the defensive line.
San Francisco just added Nick Bosa to a group the 49ers already considered one of their biggest areas of strength. The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft headlines the group alongside DeForest Buckner and fellow edge rusher Dee Ford.
"The hardest thing to handle is going against a tough D-Line, and that's been our goal since we got here, to try to build it that way," Shanahan said. "I think we've got a chance to be difference makers on the defensive line, and that'll add to our linebackers, that'll add to our secondary and make our whole team better.”
John Lynch admitted that the 49ers had known Bosa was their guy "for weeks." With the assumption all along that the Arizona Cardinals would take Kyler Murray No. 1, San Francisco knew they'd be able to land Bosa.
"Nick Bosa is a player who we have long coveted and grown in our appreciation probably every time we watch him, it gets better," Lynch said. "We're very pleased to have him as part of our organization.
"He's not only incredibly talented, powerful, fast, but he's very efficient in the way he plays, and you put that together and you think you have a pretty special package.”
Lynch's favorite pre-draft story regarding Bosa came during Ohio State's week of Rose Bowl preparations. Even though Bosa had already stepped away from the team in order to prepare for the draft, the Buckeyes had several other NFL-caliber prospects.
To everyone's surprise, Bosa ended up attending the practice to reunite with his teammates and wish them well in their matchup against the Washington Huskies. That was the moment that sold Lynch and vice president of player personnel Adam Peters on their eventual first-round selection.
"I think in a situation where they could have had some animosity for a guy who made a decision to leave his team to get ready for his next step in his career, in his professional career, instead they all were appreciative of a guy who they had a ton of respect for."
Bosa recorded 17.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss and 77 total tackles in his three seasons at Ohio State.
John Lynch said that Bosa is totally healthy and will be a full participant in the team's offseason program upon his arrival in the Bay Area. Shanahan added that when the regular season rolls around, he sees Bosa as a three-down player.
Bosa is plenty good against the run, but obviously it's his abilities as a pass rusher that has the 49ers coaching staff giddy. San Francisco's standout defensive line, assuming the production is on par with expectations, will have a trickle down effect on the rest of the defense.
"If you don't have that pass rush, I don't care what corners you go get," Shanahan said. "No one can cover forever, and you can have guys who can get a lot of interceptions, but if that quarterback has forever to throw, it really doesn't matter."
Games aren't won on paper, but the list of names on San Francisco's defensive line point to drastic improvements in 2019 and beyond.