Who Will Be the 49ers Sack Leader in 2021?

The obvious answer is Nick Bosa, who recorded 9 sacks as a rookie in 2019, then missed all but two games in 2020 with a torn ACL.
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This is the time of the offseason to make predictions.

Of course, we don't yet have enough information to make the best predictions, but there's not much else going on, so let's entertain ourselves.

Let's predict which player will lead the 49ers in sacks this upcoming season.

The obvious answer is Nick Bosa, who recorded 9 sacks as a rookie in 2019, then missed all but two games in 2020 with a torn ACL. The expectation is he will return and lead the 49ers defensive line in more ways than one.

But that's an ambitious expectation. Bosa still hasn't finished rehabbing his knee -- he's in Florida with trainers, not in Santa Clara with the team. So it's possible he won't be at his best next season. Possible the 49ers will keep him on a pitch count to avoid another injury, at least initially.

And as good as Bosa is, he generates more pressure than sacks, because he has short arms. He can't always finish the play. But he creates chaos in the pocket, which allows other players to record sacks.

Players such as Arik Armstead, who led the 49ers in sacks in 2019 when he recorded 10, largely in thanks to Bosa. But that also was a contract season for Armstead, and the only year Armstead ever has recorded more than 3.5 sacks. It seems like 2019 was an anomaly.

Which brings us to newcomer Samson Ebukam, who will replace Dee Ford in the 49ers defense. Ebukam has never been a fulltime pass rusher before, but he will be next season, and he will benefit more than anyone from the pressure Bosa creates.

Look for Ebukam to lead the 49ers with nine sacks in 2021.