How Merriman knew Bosa was destined to become NFL superstar

How Merriman knew Bosa was destined to become NFL superstar originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Shawne Merriman knew Nick Bosa was on the path to NFL stardom long before the 49ers defensive end made his NFL debut.

In a conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Laura Britt at Radio Row on Tuesday in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, the once-electric All-Pro NFL linebacker shared how a conversation with a recently drafted Bosa convinced him the edge rusher was bound for stardom.

“I got a chance, when he got drafted, to sit down and talk [with Bosa],” Merriman told Britt. “Obviously, [with] his brother playing for the Chargers, I knew about Nick already coming out. But I had a chance to sit down and talk to Nick when he got drafted, during a draft time in Tennessee.”

That conversation went a very specific way: Bosa was asking Merriman all the questions – all the right questions.

Quickly, the former Charger and three-time Pro Bowl selection took notice that Bosa had the mindset of a future star, which complemented the unquestionable play that made him a No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

“And when I tell you that you know from your guys who are going to be superstars, [it’s] because they ask all of the right questions,” Merriman added. “They want to get better. They don’t care about going out, having the stardom. They don’t care about [an] endorsement deal.

“All the questions that came from Nick [were], ‘How do I get better as a football player?’ And we sat around and talked for 45 minutes or so. We were eating, and I was like, ‘This guy is going to be a superstar.’ I know he was great in college and all that stuff, but sometimes the college player doesn’t translate to the NFL level. And I was like, ‘Nah, this dude is going to be a star.’ So I’m not surprised at all.”

Characterized by his ability to overpower offensive linemen, Bosa was pivotal in the 49ers’ NFC Championship win over the Detroit Lions, generating two sacks in a game that featured two crucial fourth-down stops from the 49ers' defense.

Merriman believes that the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has a unique X-factor to his game, forcing opposing play-callers to put together endless strategies to try and nix Bosa out of any given game because he's that good.

“I think because of his explosiveness and his ability to create chaos in the backfield, even though he’s not getting a sack because you just mentioned that he gets double-teamed a lot,” Merriman said. “He does. He gets doubled-teamed, he gets held a lot and they don’t call it. But his capabilities call so much attention for an offensive coordinator to not run certain plays because of his capabilities.

“It’s what changed the whole dynamic on anybody that they [49ers] play. That’s how impactful he is being on the field.”

When the 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 11, Kyle Shanahan and Co. will be hoping they get the same superstar Bosa described by Merriman.

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