Wilks shares first impression of Bosa after texting 49ers star


New 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks inherited quite the group when he came from the Carolina Panthers to coach in Santa Clara.

Wilks now heads one of the NFL's top defenses, which includes a stacked defensive line featuring the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in pass rusher Nick Bosa -- much to the DC's delight, who has spent time texting the All-Pro in recent weeks.

"[We've interacted] just through text, and they have all been great," Wilks told reporters Friday in his first 49ers press conference. "I've only heard great things about him, even before I got here. Just his personality, going around the league, different guys that I know and how they just rant and rave about him. The work ethic that he has most importantly is just across the board. The standard is set here.

"These guys work extremely hard, and I'm so impressed of just watching those guys work even in Phase 1. I would just watch the individual period every day and just see how they work at all three levels of the defense, and Bosa is a leader of that. He exemplifies that each and every day.”

To complement Bosa, the 49ers went big in free agency this offseason by signing former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million contract in March. Along with Hargrave and other tenured 49ers stars like Arik Armstead, Wilks also is encouraged by the work he has seen this offseason from defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw and Drake Jackson.

"Well, I think you have to go back to personnel, and I think you've seen what we've been able to do as far as drafting certain guys," Wilks said of how the 49ers' defensive line has progressed over the years. "Kinlaw has just been tremendous since I've been here. The day that I came in on my interview, he was here working out. He has not missed a day of offseason training, so I'm excited to see exactly where he's going to be.

"The same thing with Drake. Drake has been here all spring working out, doing the things that he needs to do to improve his game. He's gained a lot of weight, he's in there with [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek, and I'm just excited to see exactly what he's going to do and how he's going to progress in his second year."

Both Kinlaw and Jackson are looking to make a splash during the 2023 NFL season. Kinlaw once again saw a promising campaign take a hit last season due to his chronic knee issues, with the 49ers declining to exercise his fifth-year option, while Jackson still is learning what it takes to be an NFL pro as his second season approaches.

But Wilks sees plenty to build on, and it's clear the new DC is eager to get to work.

"You know what we did in free agency with Javon, one of the best three-technique interior linemen in the National Football League," Wilks continued. "I'm excited, and I can be up here all day long talking about the Defensive Player of the Year [Bosa], so we have a great front. We have to continue to build on that, and the one thing that I'm emphasizing and talking about, we have to complement each other, so there's different layers to this defense, and the back end has to do a great job.”

RELATED: Warner, Armstead surprised, thrilled by 49ers' Hargrave addition

After falling to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers' defense certainly is looking forward to another run at the Super Bowl with Wilks leading the charge. And with a player like Bosa, San Francisco's chances at producing another stifling defensive campaign appear likely.

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