Cardinals draft Ohio State DE Nick Bosa in McShay’s 1st NFL mock

Dec 12, 2018, 8:33 AM | Updated: Jan 18, 2019, 12:17 pm
In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa plays against Rutgers dur...
In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa plays against Rutgers during an NCAA college football game, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)
(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

The Arizona Cardinals’ loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday coincided with the two teams ahead of them in the upside-down standings pulling off wins.

Altogether, Sunday was a victory for Arizona’s chances of landing the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Heading into Week 15, the Cardinals currently have the No. 2 selection, but ESPN’s Football Power Index projects them to finish the year with the first overall pick.

What would they do with it?

ESPN draft guru Todd McShay released the first version of his 2019 NFL mock draft on Wednesday, and he has Arizona grabbing Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa to join an already-imposing pass-rush.

The Cards have a lot of needs, but getting the best player in the draft to line up opposite Chandler Jones would be a big step in the right direction. Bosa fits well with Arizona’s 4-3 scheme with his power and length, and Markus Golden hits free agency after the season.

There are a few items to unpack here.

Firstly, it’s a wonder whether Arizona will feel the need to add another end or buy low and re-sign Golden, who returned to the team in mid-September after suffering an ACL tear last season. Golden has appeared in 10 games so far and recorded 27 tackles with 1.5 sacks.

Another thing to consider: the Cardinals will have their choice of defensive linemen by drafting anywhere in the top-five.

McShay’s initial mock draft has five defensive linemen coming off the board first through fifth. Rashan Gary of Michigan and Clelin Ferrell of Clemson join Bosa as end options, and there are also tackles Quinnen Williams of Alabama and Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence making up McShay’s first five players off the board.

Perhaps one of those players strikes the Cardinals’ fancy more than Bosa, who played just three games with the Buckeyes as a junior this season due to a core injury.

The sixth player off McShay’s board is Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams, who also fits a position of need for Arizona with injuries ending left tackle D.J. Humphries’ season for the second year in a row.

Obviously, the Cardinals would love to receive the first pick because it’ll give them options. They can keep it and get the best player on their board, or field offers to trade down. The latter could be an appealing proposition if they don’t feel Bosa or anyone else is at a tier all alone among the rest of the 2019 prospects.

How likely is it that Arizona finishes the year with the worst record and a winner of any tiebreakers, giving it all of those options to consider?

ESPN’s power index believes the Cardinals have a 57-percent shot at earning the top pick with three games remaining.

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