Arizona Cardinals select Robert Nkemdiche 29th overall to strengthen their front seven
Considered to be the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft at one point, the Cardinals select a talented, yet troubled d-tackle out of Ole Miss. However, taking a prospect falling due to off the field issues has never been a problem for Arizona, especially after taking Tyrann Mathieu back in 2013 who had similar issues.
Nkemdiche was arrested for possession of marijuana back in December after falling from a hotel window. The fall also led Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze to suspend him for the Sugar Bowl. He also raised eyebrows when he told reports teammate Laremy Tunsil was with him when he fell.
At six-foot-three and 295 pounds of muscle, Nkemdiche has a perfect build to play D-tackle in the NFL. He’s shown the talent to be both a two-gapping zero tech and also an interior pass rusher. He has great lateral agility and when he wants to, an exceptional motor. At times, he was unblockable against talented SEC lines.
The problem is keeping him from taking plays off. At times he would disappear from games and be washed out by quality interior linemen. There’s also a question about his production; only 6.5 sacks in 3 years. He also has problems with technique and loses sight of the ball at times, more concerned about imposing his strength on the blocker than making the tackle.
The NFL Draft is all about taking risks and assessing talent. If Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals believe that they can get the most out of Nkemdiche’s raw skillset, then the pick is going to pay dividends.