Realistic Expectations for Nick Bosa in 2021

He's only 23, and yet already has torn both ACLs and a core muscle since high school.

The 49ers have one hell of a roster. 

Whether its good enough to win a Super Bowl depends on the quarterback position, obviously. But it also it depends on Nick Bosa. He was one of their team MVPs two years ago when they went to the Super Bowl, but then he tore his ACL Week 2 of last season and missed the rest of the year.

So what are realistic expectations next season for Bosa, who's only 23, and yet already has torn both ACLs and a core muscle since high school?

We should expect the 49ers to keep Bosa on a limited snap count. We should expect them to bring him along slowly. He's far too important to the future of the franchise for the 49ers to rush him back before he's ready.

Which means he might not start right away. Or if he is a starter, he might not play two drives in a row. He could play one drive, and then stand on the sideline while Ronald Blair or Arden Key or Jordan Willis or Samson Ebukam takes his place at defensive end for a few plays.

This would be the smart way to reintroduce Bosa to game action. It's the same approach Ohio State took with Bosa when he was in college. Bosa tore his ACL his senior year of high school, and then never was a full-time player at Ohio State. That coaching staff was careful with him. He played only about 1,000 snaps total in college.

Expect Bosa to play closer to 500 snaps next season, and to record 5 to 7 sacks.

Then in 2022, he should return to full workload.