MOBILE, Ala. -- During a meeting with the Arizona Cardinals this week at the Senior Bowl, Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin was asked to play the role of NFL general manager.

The Cardinals have the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. McLaurin, a two-time Ohio State captain, said the Cardinals asked for his insight about defensive end Nick Bosa, a former teammate.

“And they asked, ‘Would you take Nick Bosa?' And I said, ‘Yes, for the No. 1 overall pick.’”

The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick. If Bosa gets past the Cardinals, the 49ers would be a strong candidate to select Bosa to upgrade their biggest need of an edge rusher.

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Bosa sustained a core muscle injury on Sept. 15 and underwent surgery two weeks later that was expected to involve a 12-week rehabilitation. On Oct. 17, Ohio State announced Bosa had withdrawn from school to concentrate on his rehabilitation for the draft.

“To be honest, I understood,” McLaurin said Wednesday at the Senior Bowl. “He has a life-changing opportunity. And while we missed him and we wish we could’ve had him, we understood. People couldn’t appreciate how serious his injury was.

“Even if he would’ve been able to come back, it may not have been until the Big Ten championship game. And he wouldn’t have been 100-percent healthy. So for him to put himself in that situation, not healthy, a 50-percent Nick Bosa is not good enough. We need 100 percent. We understood. We didn’t take any offense to it. But we did miss him.”

 

Bosa recorded four sacks in the three games in which he appeared this season as a junior. During his sophomore year at Ohio State, Bosa registered 8.5 sacks to enter the season as the favorite to be chosen with the No. 1 overall pick. His injury is not expected to have much impact on his draft status.

McLaurin, who spoke at length with Bosa when Ohio State traveled to Southern California for the Rose Bowl, described him as a “great teammate.”

“He’s always pushing the younger guys,” McLaurin said of Bosa. “He’s a very high competitor. Sometimes our coaches have to pull him back because of how hard he goes. He’s probably one of the best players I’ve ever played with.”