ESPN: NFL Scouts vote on what Arizona will do with No. 1 overall pick
It’s only February.
But while the conclusion of the 2018-19 season is still freshly in our minds, it’s time to look ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft.
Although the Arizona Cardinals possess the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, it’s not known what the team will do with the draft spot.
Taking this into account, ESPN’s Nick Wagoner spoke with 11 NFL scouts during the Senior Bowl — which gives teams a good look at some of the college players entering the draft — who gave their vote as to what the Cardinals are planning to do come draft time.
Of the 11 votes taken, three options presented themselves for the team.
Garnering six votes, the most likely possibility, according to the scouts, is Arizona going for the best available player in Ohio State’s Nick Bosa.
What scouts are saying:
“I just don’t think they’ll be able to trade for a package that would be worth missing out on Bosa unless someone just falls for one of those QBs.”
“It’s so early, they probably don’t even know yet, but Bosa is the logical choice here in January.”
“Someone could fall in love with a QB … or heck, maybe the coach [Kliff Kingsbury] isn’t married to the [current] QB [Josh Rosen]. But I’d think that was a big factor in landing that job.”
Although the 21-year-old played in just three games, compiling 14 tackles, 4.0 sacks and a forced fumble before electing to have abdominal surgery in 2018, Bosa still put together a decent resume at Ohio State.
In 29 games played as a Buckeye, the defensive end recorded 77 total tackles, 29 for loss, to go along with 17.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He also scored on a fumble recovery.
The most likely choice is Bosa, but what about trading down?
While it only received three votes, the consensus among scouts was, given the chance, the Cardinals would make the move to trade down for added picks.
“Given the chance” are the keywords here.
“I’m sure they’d love to move down, and if that’s what they really want, they can probably find a taker. The thing for them will be finding a good enough deal to make passing on those top guys worth it.”
“They will get offers. I just wonder if the offers will be for a team looking for a quarterback or someone like Bosa. If it’s for a QB, it would be better for them.”
With an injury-riddled offensive line, the Cardinals could make the trade to bring in a few linemen to help shore up the protection for quarterback Josh Rosen.
Picking later in the draft was a strong suit for Arizona last year.
Mason Cole, the lone starter on the line to play in all 16 games and every offensive snap last year as a rookie, was selected in the third round.
Christian Kirk, who flashed his potential before going down with an injury, was a second rounder, while Chase Edmonds, David Johnson’s backup, was picked up in the fourth. Offensive lineman Korey Cunningham, selected in the seventh round, started six games as well.
Although it seems like a “preferred move” for Arizona, only three votes were in favor of trading the pick.
But what about the third option?
If the Cardinals decide to take a different route, some NFL scouts believe the team will turn to Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
“Bosa will have some risky stuff with the way the season ended. Plus, Williams could give them something on the interior they don’t have.”
With two votes, however, Williams is the least likely option for the Cardinals.
As a redshirt sophomore, Williams made 71 tackles, 19.5 for loss and 8.0 sacks. Pairing the defensive tackle with Jones could prove to be a dynamic duo in the desert.
Though he’s not as polished as Bosa — Williams won’t turn 22 until December and is entering the draft as a redshirt sophomore — his upside could make him appealing to a team like Arizona that already boasts a top edge rusher.
Jones, who made 49 tackles and 13.0 sacks in 2018, could get some relief from opposing offenses with a player like Williams in the trenches.