The Cardinals have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and while recent speculation has focused on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, most draftniks list a trio of defensive linemen atop the prospect perch.
Ohio State’s Nick Bosa played defensive end in college, but at about 260 pounds, would seem to fit better as an outside linebacker in the Cardinals’ 3-4 scheme.
The idea of a position change can be concerning, but new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said the move would not be a big deal.
“4-3 college ends, they grow to be outside ‘backers,” Joseph said. “It’s a learned ability.”
Joseph brought up a pertinent recent example. The Broncos took Bradley Chubb with the No. 5 overall selection in last year’s draft and he excelled out of the gate despite the position switch.
“Chubb was a career 4-3 end,” Joseph said. “He never played in a two point, never dropped. He played SAM backer for us at 6-4½, 270. He had 12½ sacks and he missed five. You have to figure out what guys do best.”
Markus Golden made a similar move from college to the Cardinals, while Chandler Jones has also gone back and forth from 4-3 end to 3-4 outside linebacker in his career. The major difference is the need to drop into coverage on occasion, but the rest of the responsibilities are similar.
Joseph said multiple times that good football players will fit any scheme. Time will tell if he has the chance to coach a player like Bosa.
“Obviously, a defensive guy, selfishly, you want to help your defense,” Joseph said. “But the best teams win. It’s a Cardinal pick. It’s not my pick.”