5. Philadelphia Eagles tackles Lane Johnson and Andre Dillard get a taste of Mr. Bosa (October 4th).
Nick Bosa blossomed right before our eyes in 2019. The younger Bosa brother had a memorable rookie season, to say the least. In 16 regular-season games, the 22-year-old racked up 47 tackles (16 of those for a loss of yardage), 45 quarterback pressures, 25 quarterback hits, nine sacks, one forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception, two pass deflections, and an approximate value of 11.
In three playoff games, he added 15 tackles (three for a loss), five quarterback hits, four sacks, two pass deflections, and one forced fumble. Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave the Defensive Rookie of the Year an 86.7 grade in year one. It’s safe to say Bosa is one of the next big stars in the making.
The athleticism that he possesses for his size is remarkable. Some offensive linemen are better off just staying on the sidelines because Bosa just uses his strength to blow right by them. If he continues to improve in his sophomore season, he has a good chance to be ranked among the league’s top defensive ends. Adding a spin move or a few other techniques to his resume could make him nearly unstoppable. It won’t be long before teams have to start double-teaming the former second-overall selection.
The Eagles will need to have Lane Johnson and Andre Dillard do some tape study before Week 4’s game because Bosa can play on both sides of the line and, occasionally, on the defensive line’s interior. Johnson, as he normally is, was one of the best at his position in 2019 with an 88.8 overall grade from PFF with just five penalties and one sack allowed in 759 snaps. He also had an approximate value of eight. He’s just as athletic as Bosa is and can certainly keep the Niners star in check.
The real question mark here is Dillard. The Eagles’ front office has placed plenty of trust in him for the upcoming season as evidenced by their decision not to re-sign Jason Peters or bring in another veteran. The expectation is Dillard will take big strides in his second year after an up-and-down rookie season. Jeff Stoutland has always been able to develop talent with time, so the belief is Philly will be patient with Dillard.
It wasn’t perfect for Dillard as a rookie, especially versus the likes of Robert Quinn in 2019, but the hope is he can perform against the best of the best. He’ll have three regular-season games under his belt by the time the Eagles travel to San Francisco, but Eagles fans will feel a lot better if they use extra protection on Dillard’s side of the line.