The 49ers entered the 2018 season with lofty expectations. With Jimmy Garoppolo entrenched as the starting quarterback, most expected the 49ers to take a leap in Year 2 under coach Kyle Shanahan.
But defensive coordinator Robert Saleh had his eye on a different prize. During the end of the 2018 offseason, Saleh predicted to left tackle Joe Staley that the 49ers were going to add Nick Bosa to their defensive line in the 2019 NFL Draft.
"He's telling me, 'Dude, there's this kid in college,'" Staley said on the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast. "He's like, 'We're going to add him next year. It's going to be unbelievable. It's Nick Bosa from Ohio State. You have to see this kid. He's unbelievable. He's going to transform our defense.' "
This, of course, seemed like lunacy to Staley. Bosa was projected to be the top pick, and the 49ers had their eyes on a playoff berth.
"In my mind, I'm like, 'There's not a f--king shot in the world we're going to get him. That means we're going to be like the No. 1 overall pick in the f--king draft. I hope we don't f--king add this kid to our team.' And then it transpired that we ended up getting him, and we ended up having the bad year."
The 49ers' season ended up spiraling downward after Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers finished the season at 4-12 and earned the No. 2 overall pick.
That wouldn't have been good enough to land Bosa in almost any other draft. But Kyler Murray's incredible Heisman Trophy-winning season shot him up draft boards, and the Arizona Cardinals tabbed the QB as the new face of their franchise. Bosa fell right into the 49ers' lap, and there's no doubt Saleh was fired up when he saw that happen.
Bosa helped turn the 49ers' defensive line from a good unit into a great one, notching nine sacks and 47 combined tackles while earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
I might have to see if Saleh has any stock tips.
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Robert Saleh told Joe Staley 49ers would add Nick Bosa year before draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area