Robert Nkemdiche is going to make the team that drafts him very happy
It’s not that often that you come across a college football player that possesses the freakish athleticism that Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche has.
Coming out of high school, Nkemdiche was the consensus No. 1 player in the 2013 recruiting class out of Grayson, Georgia as a defensive end and made the switch to defensive tackle once at Ole Miss. Despite never putting up the statistical numbers that many projected him too, he still has pro-ready skills and will be the steal of the draft.
The big knock on Nkemdiche is his marijuana possession arrest before Ole Miss’s bowl game in the previous season. This was Nkemdiche’s first ever arrest and has had a relatively clean track record up until that point. We have seen college prospects time after time get arrested for marijuana leading up to draft and turn out to be very good NFL players. So hanging this over his head and calling him a “thug” doesn’t hold much ground.
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Nkemdiche is a 300-pound defensive end that has 10 percent body fat. That’s incredible. Standing next to him you would never imagine that he weighs that much but lineup across from him and you will find out really quick that yes, he does weight that much. He clocked in at 6-foot-3 at the combine and ran a 4.87 40-yard dash. He hit the bench press 28 times which faired very well amongst defensive tackles and out jumped pretty much anyone on the vertical jump. His 35-inch vertical was tops among defensive tackles.
His athleticism alone ranks him as a top-3 defensive tackle in the 2016 draft, but because of his arrest, he will likely fall to the very end of the first round and may even slip into the second.
NFL.com gives Nkemdiche a comparison to Minnesota Vikings’ tackle Sharrif Floyd. Floyd was a first-round pick in the 2013 draft and has put together a very solid start to his career. He has 9.5 career sacks in three seasons despite battling through several injuries.
Nkemdiche is much faster than Floyd and performed better in broad jump and in the vertical jump. Despite being the exact same weight and height, Nkemdiche has larger hands and much longer arms. Arm length for a tackle is very important so a comparison to Floyd may not be the best out there.
Whoever drafts him is getting a top-10 player at a huge discount. His contract will be a lot cheaper than it should be and will likely mean that he goes to a top-tier team in the NFL if he goes at the end of the first round.
Will he wind up with his hometown Atlanta Falcons? The odds are one in a 100 but you can count on him succeeding wherever he winds up. If Nkemdiche goes at 100 percent at all times while he’s on the field, he has future all-pro written all over him.