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Niners DE Nick Bosa named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Nick Bosa's 49ers might have fallen short of Super Bowl LVII, but his efforts did not go unnoticed.

Bosa was named The Associated Press 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday night at NFL Honors.

The San Francisco pass rusher dominated the awards voting, receiving 46 first-place votes and 237 points to surpass runner-up Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys. Parsons had 101 points, but did not garner a first-place vote. Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones came in third with 56 points and one first-place vote. Philadelphia Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick got two first-place votes but finished in fourth place. New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams received the other first-place vote.

Bosa's 2022 season was the best of his young career.

The Ohio State product finished as the league leader in sacks with 18.5, becoming the first 49er to lead the NFL in sacks since the stat became official in 1982, and topping his previous career-best mark of 15.5 set in 2021.

With Bosa leading the way along the defensive front, San Francisco finished as the league's top-ranked defense, earning defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans a head-coaching job in Houston. San Francisco's defense nearly propelled the 49ers to the Super Bowl, despite losing each of its top four quarterbacks to injuries at various points in the 2022 campaign.

Bosa's ascension to the elite tier of pass rushers certainly isn't shocking. The younger brother of Chargers star Joey Bosa arrived with great expectations as the second-overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, recorded nine sacks as a rookie, and was only interrupted on his path to AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year by an ACL tear suffered in Week 2 of the 2020 season.

Since he returned from the injury, he's been nothing but productive, logging 34 sacks over his last two seasons. Bosa led the NFL in quarterback hits with 48 in 2022, forced two fumbles, and tied for second in tackles for loss, proving he can be more than just an excellent hunter of opposing quarterbacks. The only box Bosa didn't check in 2022 concerned the postseason, in which he recorded four tackles for loss and a fumble recovery, but went without a sack in three playoff games.

At 25 years old, Bosa figures to remain among the top tier of edge rushers for the next half-decade. San Francisco made the easy decision to pick up his fifth-year option prior to the 2022 season, and will soon engage him in long-term contract talks as a key member of the organization's future.

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