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Kiper’s 1st NFL mock: Bosa might be too good for Cardinals to pass up

Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa plays against Oregon State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Yes, the Arizona Cardinals need more than a few plugs if they want a quick turnaround after posting the worst record in the NFL.

Holding and drafting with the No. 1 NFL Draft pick only would take care of one of those plugs, so the notion Arizona might shop its 2019 first-round selection to add more bodies is easy to believe, especially with a relatively muddled crop of top prospects in the class.

Still, there’s a decent consensus that Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa is the best player available, at least among ESPN draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. McShay already listed Bosa as his top prospect on his big board and the best fit for the Cardinals, and Kiper agrees in his first version of a 2019 mock.

Kiper also knows Arizona might be better off trading down to get more picks. That said:

General manager Steve Keim is going to have a chance to trade down and accumulate picks. He should take a look at it too, because this roster has been stripped of talent since the Cardinals went to the NFC Championship Game in 2016. But Bosa is going to be tough to pass up, as he is an elite pass-rusher. New defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is expected to switch this defense back to a 3-4, and Bosa has the versatility to play multiple spots. Give new coach Kliff Kingsbury a defensive stalwart opposite Chandler Jones who can get after Jared Goff, Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo twice a season.

Bosa played in three games for the Buckeyes in his junior season after suffering a core injury.

In 2017, a full sophomore season, Bosa recorded 34 tackles, 16.0 for loss, to go with 8.5 sacks, two passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Who else could the Cardinals draft at No. 1 or get in the top five picks if they can find a trade partner? Kiper’s first mock looks a bit different from the one compiled by McShay, who had only defensive linemen in his top-five.

Kiper has Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen going second overall. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect could be an alternative to Bosa in Joseph’s scheme and with Arizona potentially losing defensive end Markus Golden in free agency.

Allen posted 56 tackles, 21.5 for loss and 17.0 sacks with four passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles during his senior season.

Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is the third player off Kiper’s draft board before the draft analyst has the Oakland Raiders taking LSU cornerback Greedy Williams fourth overall.

That’s an interesting twist because the Cardinals, of course, might be interested in finally filling the cornerback slot opposite Patrick Peterson with a fellow Tiger mentee.

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