Many draft experts predict the Arizona Cardinals will take 2018 Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
However, the Cardinals also can’t go wrong with Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa.
Many NFL aficionados believe Bosa will go No. 2 in the draft behind Murray. Once Arizona selects Murray, Bosa will fall right into the waiting arms of the San Francisco 49ers.
Not so fast.
Bosa, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, is arguably the most sought-after defensive lineman in the draft. Some scouts even believe Nick is better than Joey. We have yet to see that at the professional level. However, it’s not a far-fetched possibility.
Here are three reasons why the Arizona Cardinals should draft Nick Bosa over Murray first overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
3. Edge Rushing Abilities
Perhaps no other rookie defensive lineman can match Bosa’s edge rushing abilities. The reason: relentlessness. Bosa just doesn’t quit when opposing offensive linemen try to hold him off. This is the kind of tenacity a struggling Cardinals team needs.
An NFL scout raved about Bosa’s abilities as an edge rusher to Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes in August 2018.
Our game is all about the quarterback and getting after the quarterback If the No. 1 position is limited, the default is the edge rusher. No one in college football is close to Bosa right now as a pure guy off the edge.
Expect Bosa to easily overcome single blocks in the pro game. His versatility also allows him to fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 front. In Bosa, new Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph would have a deadly weapon at his disposal.
2. Football Knowledge
Bosa is a technically-sound and strong pass rusher. His muscular and well-built frame helps him open up the edges against running and passing plays. The knock against him is his lack of fluidity.
However, Bosa makes up for this with his knowledge of the game. His pure football instinct allows him to gain an advantage over offensive linemen. Opposing quarterbacks and running backs better watch out.
1. Overall Package
Bosa isn’t a perfect defensive end – his NFL Scouting Combine analysis on NFL.com says he is “tightly bundled through his hips.” He also “needs to be quicker in finding the football” and increase his number of tackles.
Nonetheless, it’s safe to say his pros outweigh his cons.
Aside from his abilities as an edge rusher and football knowledge, Bosa’s incredible physique should serve him well in the pro ranks. When the season kicks off in September, he should have fully recovered from a core muscle injury which limited him to just three games during his junior year with the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2018.
By then, Bosa will face plenty of double teams, which he has the ability to beat with his strength. He also has active hands which help disrupt the offensive line.
Arizona finished 20th in the NFL with 5,741 yards allowed during the 2018 NFL season. The Cardinals also ranked 26th in points allowed (425). They were also the worst team in terms of stopping the run last season (2,479 rushing yards allowed). Clearly, Joseph and Co. have their work cut out for them.
Nick Bosa is a rare player who can join the ranks of Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, and Simeon Rice as some of the best defensive linemen in Arizona Cardinals history.
On the other hand, if his performance in 2018 is any indication, Josh Rosen isn’t the long-term solution at quarterback. Kyler Murray can help turn things around in Arizona.
While that is the most obvious scenario, the Cardinals are in a win-win situation. They are in the enviable position of choosing between Murray and Nick Bosa. Arizona can’t go wrong with either player. However, defense wins ball games. It’s an issue which the Cardinals need to address.
Nick Bosa should fill that gap and then some.