Where Nick Bosa lands on Stephen A's list of top five NFL players originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
On ESPN’s "First Take," Stephen A. Smith ranked his top five players in the NFL, a list that included Bosa.
— First Take (@FirstTake) August 28, 2023
"This brother right here, Nick Bosa, 18.5 sacks last year ... the year before that had 15.5 sacks. Thirty-four sacks over the last two years," said Smith. “We know how lethal he is, we know how big time San Francisco’s defense is when he is on the field. He elevates them to another level. He’s one of, if not the, elite defensive player in the game today. We cannot ignore that reality.”
Bosa also was the only defensive player to make Smith’s list, a testament to how dominant the 49ers star edge rusher has been during his four seasons in the NFL.
Fresh off an 18.5-sack campaign that was rewarded with an NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, Bosa has established himself in rarified air as an impact player at a premium position. But as the reigning DPOY's holdout persists amid contract extension talks, the 49ers certainly hope to have him back soon while they work out what should be a lucrative pay day for Bosa.
As for the only two players ahead of Bosa on Smith’s list, both Mahomes and Burrow both have compelling cases for where they landed.
Mahomes is coming off a stellar season that saw him recognized as the league MVP while also earning Super Bowl MVP honors.
Burrow has put together back-to-back seasons of over 4,000 passing yards and 30 or more touchdown passes, while leading one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
Nonetheless, Bosa earning the nod over players like Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is beyond impressive and speaks volumes to just how vital he is to the continued success of the 49ers.