Few doubt that defensive end Nick Bosa will win NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Some wonder if the game-changing pass rusher should be in the discussion for NFL MVP. Teammates like tight end George Kittle have pushed for it.

“I mean, he’s better than everybody else,” Kittle recently told reporters. “He’s a better athlete. He’s stronger. He’s faster. He’s so smart. The moves that he does, he’s so creative. He’s so good at getting offensive linemen’s hands off of him. His effort is always there. When Bosa gets a sack, it just kind of ignites the entire team too.”

Kittle added, “And if you look at what he does every [game] compared to everyone else around the league, whether it’s offense or defense, I don’t know why [he’s] not in the MVP conversation too.”

The last defensive player named NFL MVP was Lawrence Taylor in 1986. The last non-quarterback to earn the honor was Adrian Peterson in 2012. The voting for the award tends to favor quarterbacks and seems to value offensive stars above defensive ones.

Would 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan make a case for his 25-year-old pass rusher?

“I definitely would,” Shanahan responded. “It’s always tough [competing] with quarterbacks because of how big of a deal quarterbacks are to their teams and in the league, and how great some of them are. So they usually get it, but the other position that’s so impactful are pass rushers.

“You think of someone like Lawrence Taylor, it’s going to make sense for someone like that to win it. I think it would make sense for someone like Aaron Donald in some of the years that he’s had. And you look at Nick, I think he’s right in that league right there of those two people that I just mentioned, and I think he’s having that type of year.”

Bosa leads the league with 17.5 sacks and could surpass the franchise record for sacks in a single season, set by Aldon Smith in 2012. Bosa has racked up 33 sacks over the last two seasons and 42 over his career.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the betting favorite for MVP.

“It depends on how the votes go and stuff,” Shanahan continued. “It always surprises you because of the quarterback situation but by no means is it not warranted. He’s that good of a player, and those guys are like that every once in a while.”