Robert Nkemdiche has enough talent to have made him a top selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, but questions about his character kept that from happening. Teams shied away from him and he fell to the Arizona Cardinals who weren’t afraid to take on Nkemdiche with the No. 29 overall pick.
The Cardinals are no strangers to taking eccentric and talented football players. Tyrann Mathieu had a lot of question marks surrounding him entering the draft five years ago, and he turned out just fine. There is enough talent on this roster to lead Nkemdiche down the right path.
Last season, the Cardinals were one of the best defenses in the NFL. They have since added Chandler Jones and now Nkemdiche from Ole Miss, so they are clearly a favorite heading into next season.
Nkemdiche possesses rare speed for a defensive tackle, running 4.85 40-yard dash at the combine. That is rare for someone checking in at 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds. He uses that size and speed to throw offensive linemen off. His first step is explosive and he can be a pass rushing threat up the middle for the Cardinals while being solid against the run. He is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft, both on the field and off of it.
As long as the drive and focus are there, the Cardinals could be getting one of the best defensive linemen in all of football. He will need some coaching to finish out some rough edges on his game, but Nkemdiche’s unique personality and disruptive play on the field should endear him to Cardinals fans for years to come.