The 2019 NFL Draft is less than three months away in Nashville.
The Arizona Cardinals are officially on the clock with the top choice after finishing the 2018 season with a franchise-worst record of 3-13. However, the Cardinals are not a team with a cupboard completely barren.
There are some pieces to build around on this roster: franchise QB Josh Rosen, Pro Bowl RB David Johnson, All-Pro DE Chandler Jones, shutdown CB Patrick Peterson and future Hall of Fame WR Larry Fitzgerald.
In a draft class full of potential defensive stars, look for Arizona to add a piece for new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph to use in his 3-4 scheme. In this article, we take a look at some potential scenarios for the top choice in April.
DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State University.
Player Profile: 6’4″ – 263lbs. – Junior.
Career Stats: 77 Total Tackles – 26 TFL – 17.0 Sacks – 2 FF – 2 FR.
Despite injuries and his decision to sit out the second half of the 2018 season, Nick Bosa will be in the conversation for the top overall choice leading up to the draft. In a league dominated by offense, teams continue to look for impact pass rushers to help slow the aerial attacks in the NFL down.
While Arizona will most likely shift to a 3-4 alignment under Joseph, Bosa’s undeniable talent is almost scheme-proof. Bosa would, presumably, be an immediate starter opposite All-Pro DE Chandler Jones. This pair could wreak havoc in opposing backfields for years to come.
DL Quinnen Williams, University of Alabama.
Player Profile: 6’4″ – 295lbs. – Redshirt Sophomore.
Career Stats: 90 Total Tackles – 25.0 TFL – 9.0 Sacks.
Quinnen Williams turned in his one and only year as a collegiate starter into a likely top-five pick. With ideal build and size, Williams projects as a three-down player in any defensive scheme. While interior defensive lineman is not a glaring need in Arizona,
Williams is the type of prospect who can potentially change the course of a franchise. If Williams is at the top of the Cardinals draft board, it would be best not to overthink the choice too much.
The Dark Horses
LB Josh Allen, University of Kentucky.
Player Profile: 6’5″ – 260lbs. – Senior.
Career Stats: 220 Total Tackles – 42.0 TFL – 31.5 Sacks – 1 INT – 5 FF – 2 FR.
Another dominant SEC defender. Josh Allen has been a menace to opposing offensive lines for the last four seasons in Lexington. He possesses the unique ability to get to the QB with regularity. He possesses optimal size for both a 4-3 DE and 3-4 OLB. As a Cardinal, Allen would be tasked with playing opposite Chandler Jones.
DT Ed Oliver, University of Houston.
Player Profile: 6’3″ – 292lbs. – Junior.
Career Stats: 193 Total Tackles – 54.0 TFL – 13.5 Sacks – 6 FF – 1 FR.
As with Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver projects as an interior disrupter. While Oliver doesn’t possess “traditional” size in the eyes of some, his production speaks for itself over three years at the University of Houston. Oliver has been discussed as a prime candidate to take a slide down boards come draft day, but make no mistake that this young man should create havoc on NFL offenses for years to come.
The Cardinals roster needs a boost after the worst season in franchise history. While taking someone with the first overall pick is somewhat safe, why not auction off to the highest bidder to see what kind of return is out there? The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, there is no question about that.
There are a few teams who are starved for a new signal-caller: the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins come to mind. It would only take one of these franchises to target their preferred QB and pull the trigger on jumping up to the top choice to get their guy. Watch for Arizona to listen very closely to potential offers as draft day gets closer.