With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine set to begin this coming February 26th, the 2019 NFL Draft fever is in the air.
The Draft Combine is the venue where potential draft picks showcase their skills and abilities in different workouts. It’s also the place where the all-important medical checks and player interviews happen. At the end of the event, we will then have a clearer picture of how the 2019 NFL Draft will unfold.
At the end of the week, we will then have a clearer picture of how the 2019 NFL Draft is going to unfold. The 2019 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee with the all-important first round slated for April 25th. With that in mind, the first question that pops our head is who will be the top overall pick in this year’s draft.
The top overall pick belongs to the Arizona Cardinals who won just three games last season, its fewest total since arriving in the desert in 1988. As such, it is also the first time that the Cardinals will be picking first in the NFL Draft since 1958 when the Chicago Cardinals selected Rice quarterback King Hill.
Arizona drafted quarterback Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft. But after finishing with the worst offense in the league last season and showing plenty of holes on defense, they need help at many positions. Ohio State defensive back Nick Bosa is the early name that is projected to be this year’s top pick. But despite already having Rosen, the Cardinals cannot just overlook the talents of quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray.
Let’s take a look at who are the favorites to become this year’s top draft choice. Odds taken from betloneline.ag as of 2/19/19:
Who Will Be The Number 1 Pick of the 2019 NFL Draft?
The Early Favorites
As we said earlier, Nick Bosa is the early favorite to be this year’s top rookie pick. Nick is the younger sibling of Los Angeles Chargers’ superstar defensive end Joey Bosa. Listed at 6-4 and 263 pounds, the Fort Lauderdale native missed most of the 2018 season due to an abdominal injury. But from his true freshman season through his shortened junior year, Bosa was a starter at Ohio State and amassed a total of 17.5 sacks and 77 tackles, including 29 for a loss in just 29 total games played as a Buckeye.
Bosa is the only prospect at a “minus” in the current oddsboard. But while it will be hard for a team like the Arizona Cardinals to pass up on a pass rusher like him, his injury history has some scouts second-guessing him. Bosa is slated to appear in the Draft Combine and the 21-year old has declared himself ready to showcase his top-caliber defensive skills.
Minus the injury history, Nick Bosa would have been a sure-fire #1 pic. But because it is what it is, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray has risen in the oddsboard at +300. Murray has created much of the draft buzz after deciding to enter the 2019 NFL Draft even after being selected in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics.
Murray’s arm talent plus his elite athleticism and his uncanny ability to work inside and outside the pocket seemingly makes him perfect for newly hired head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid system. The fact that Kingsbury wasn’t the one who drafted Rosen means that he isn’t irreplaceable or so the theorists say. However, Kingsbury recently told reporters that Rosen has the “keys to the castle”, thus possibly ending rumors that the Cardinals are going to make a U-turn.
But even with Murray or even Haskins out of the equation, the Cardinals have other Defensive Players to consider if in case Bosa isn’t 100%. The next top defensive name is Defensive Tackle Quinnen Williams of Alabama. The 6-4, 295-pound Williams led all interior defenders with 52 stops and led all SEC interior defenders with 55 quarterback pressures. With his upside, WIlliams certainly has the potential to be the #1 overall pick, especially if Bosa goes wrong in the Draft Combine. At +500, Williams certainly presents an interesting value because after Bosa, he is the next top defensive player in the draft.
Who Will Be #1?
Although the Kyler Murray rumors refuse to die, Kliff Kingsbury saying that Josh Rosen “kind of has the keys to the castle” probably gives us an idea of how the Cardinals are going to draft. No question, Nick Bosa is a stud but until the Draft Combine is over with and he can show that he is 100% and back to who he was before the injury, nothing is certain yet although Bosa should be the Cardinals’ guy if he is healthy.
Knowing that Arizona traded up to pick Rosen last year, one cannot also discount the possibility of them trading down a couple of picks lower this year or probably drafting Kyler Murray and then trading him to another team. Remember that it wasn’t too long ago when we last saw a team trade the #1 overall pick: The Tennessee Titans trading the top pick to the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. And who did the Rams pick? Jared Goff, who only led the team to the Super Bowl this past season.
I think if the Cardinals keep the pick, they will go for a healthy Nick Bosa. However, if Arizona ends up shopping the pick to other teams, I have a good hunch that it’s gonna be Kyler Murray. Personally, I won’t make my bet until after the Draft Combine but then maybe the odds will be much higher by then. So if you force me to make my pick now, I’m going with Kyler Murray with Nick Bosa’s status still up in the air. Whether Murray gets traded or not is just secondary. A talent like him doesn’t come every year.