With the passing of the trade deadline, the 49ers’ last chance to acquire a pass rusher until at least March 13th 2019 came and went. The reality is however, that the options available and the compensation touted were never likely to be especially appealing to the 49ers, and the available free agents in March may also fail to satiate what better be a serious appetite for pass rushing talent.

The draft is likely to be the key area to target the 49ers’ need for pass rushing talent. It was a need in 2017 which was not addressed sufficiently by the front office – it seems they did not value Marcus Davenport, Harold Landry and Lorenzo Carter highly enough to draft them at the positions they were eventually selected. There is also the curious decision to draft Solomon Thomas the previous year which so far hasn’t panned out like they hoped.

Having lost Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo, their two major players on offense, to ACL injuries and with other key assets playing hurt, the 49ers find themselves in a situation nobody predicted at the beginning of the season. Sitting at 1-7, San Francisco look increasingly likely to be picking in the top five of the 2019 NFL draft, perhaps even first overall. It may seem like a terrible situation for a team that was seen as a rising playoff contender but this may just be a blessing in disguise to the 49ers front office.

Why you may ask… Well the Indianapolis Colts were dead last in 2011 and followed it up with a solid draft, selecting Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. They proceeded to make the playoffs in 2012.

Kansas City Chiefs finished last in 2012. They proceeded to have a decent draft selecting Eric Fisher and Travis Kelce which helped secure a playoff spot in 2013.

It was not all down to the players drafted that made those teams playoff teams, but it proves that high draft picks, especially the first overall pick, give teams the chance to rebound instantly by adding a major missing piece.

The 2019 NFL Draft, which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, could be where the 49ers find that missing piece to their puzzle

This brings me nicely onto the relevance of Thursday night, AKA the Bosa Bowl.

At stake, is the right to draft Nick Bosa, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ star defensive end and brother of Los Angeles Chargers superstar edge rusher Joey Bosa. You may have heard many people gushing about Nick Bosa and wondered why there was all this hype, I’ve decide to take an early look at what makes him so special.

Bosa possesses an array of pass rush moves which should help him quickly adjust to the NFL without major setbacks. This is precisely what is needed to allow a young defense to make that jump from promising to great. So far this season the 49ers have ranked well against the run and pass but have really struggled to get sacks and turnovers. A stud pass rusher can change both those stats.

Despite not having impressive sacks numbers there is pressure being generated which points to the need for a finisher on the edge of our defensive line. This is also something Kyle Shanahan alluded to after the 49ers’ latest defeat to Arizona.

The prospect of adding an elite talent like Bosa would be an outstanding win for the 49ers. In 2017 he logged 8 sacks and 16 tackles for loss per school stats. He added 62 total pressures and won 28% of his pass rush battles, 5% higher than the next best defensive lineman per PFF. Adding this type of impact will help the other players on defense, most notably a struggling secondary.

It has also been confirmed that Bosa will forgo his Junior season at Ohio State to concentrate on rehabilitation from a core muscle injury and prepare for the upcoming draft. This move won’t hurt his draft stock at all – he is clearly the best player in college football. There are no questions about his effort or pedigree, this is a player destined to be picked early and he is protecting his value.

So, on Thursday, as tough as it may be to do so in the spur of the moment, consider a loss a win, and a win a loss, as the Bosa Bowl rewards the loser, not the victor.