Nick Bosa never shied away from comparisons with his older brother, Joey.

He followed his path from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Ohio State and wore the same No. 97.

Joey set the NFL draft bar high when he was taken the third overall pick in 2016. Nick surpassed it Thursday night when the San Francisco 49ers took the defensive end with the second overall pick.

 

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The selection caps a rollercoaster year for Bosa. He was regarded as the top defensive player in college football entering last season and he was on his way to living up to that billing. He had four sacks and a forced fumble in his first three games, but in that third game he suffered a bilateral core muscle tear against TCU.

The injury required surgery and a months-long recovery. When it became clear that a return to the Buckeyes was unrealistic, Bosa decided to leave Ohio State and prepare for the draft.

He pronounced himself healed at the NFL combine two months ago. His injury is considered one that’s unlikely to recur.

With the injury issue receded, Bosa is regarded as close to a can’t-miss prospect as there is in the draft. He combines strength, speed and technique as a pass-rusher and is also stout run defender.

 

>> From earlier: NFL combine | Fully recovered, Ohio State’s Nick Bosa sets sights on pros

 

He comes by it naturally. First-round picks run in the Bosa family. In addition to his brother, their father, John, was taken with the 16th pick of the 1987 draft by Miami. A year later, the Dolphins also used the 16th selection to take the Bosas’ uncle, former Buckeye Eric Kumerow.

The elder Bosa and Kumerow had disappointing NFL careers, but Joey Bosa was the defensive rookie of the year and is regarded as one of the NFL’s top defensive linemen.

Nick Bosa had 17½ sacks and 29 tackles for loss in only 30 career games as a Buckeye.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch