American Football

Who will finish behind Nick Bosa in sacks in 2023?


San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

It’s a foregone conclusion that Bosa will lead the 49ers in sacks this year. But who finishes second behind the reigning DPOY?

Nick Bosa will lead the 49ers in sacks in 2023, barring something catastrophic or an unforeseen breakout season. Given the ferocious defensive line starters and the attention they will demand, Bosa will vault into the thick of another Defensive Player of the Year race. Steve Wilks will find new ways to create pressure and have fun playing with his shiny new toys.

The question is: Who will finish behind Bosa in 2023?

The smart money would be on the 49ers’ prize of the offseason, Javon Hargrave. Following a season-high 11-sack season in 2022, why bet against Hargrave? Besides, the 49ers gave him a considerable bag to produce and deliver.

While Hargrave is the favorite, what if the attention he demands and draws with double teams in the middle is the catalyst for a dark horse to finish second?

The next candidate would be Arik Armstead. Hargrave is Armstead’s most formidable running mate at defensive tackle since DeForest Buckner. Ten sacks in 2019 is by far Armstead’s career-high. That defensive line featured Bosa, Buckner, Armstead, and Dee Ford. While people judge Armstead based on his salary, there’s no doubt Armstead is more effective with a solid supporting cast.

There is also the possibility of Wilks becoming creative and playing Armstead on the edge against advantageous matchups with offensive tackles. It is a pick-your-poison situation with the 2023 defensive line.

Then there is the second-year edge rusher, Drake Jackson. The buzz surrounding Jackson has been positive with his weight gain and development. Heading into training camp, the 49ers are showing confidence in Jackson to be an every-down edge player in year two.

Jackson’s development and skillset, combined with the attention drawn to Hargrave, Bosa, and Armstead, might be what the doctor ordered for Jackson to finish second behind Bosa.

I’ll take the safe bet with Hargrave, but the prospect of either Armstead or Jackson wreaking havoc in 2023 is exciting.

Who do you believe will finish behind Bosa in sacks?

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