From being considered a top-five pick to later being considered a second-round choice, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche has seen his draft stock fluctuate over the past few months. But now, the drama is over.
The Arizona Cardinals took a chance and selected the controversial Nkemdiche with the No. 29 overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft in Chicago on Thursday in what could be the steal of the draft.
Nkemdiche is considered a top-10 talent by many, but his off-field troubles and lack of production during his collegiate career left his stock in limbo leading up to the draft. In December, Nkemdiche fell out of an Atlanta hotel window, and things have spiraled from there.
The former Ole Miss star didn’t help himself with an odd press conference at the NFL combine where he said he was drunk, not using drugs, at the time of the fall.
That incident, along with the impact of his brother Denzel’s influence, were the topics of many conversations with NFL team personnel.
Nkemdiche’s biggest saving grace is his freakish athletic ability. At 6-foot-3, 294-pounds, Nkemdiche ran a 4.87 40 time at the combine. He also posted a 35-inch vertical, a nine-foot, eight-inch broad jump and 28 repetitions on the bench press during the event.
As the No. 1 overall recruit in Class of 2013 according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Nkemdiche made an immediate impact during his first year at Ole Miss. Over his three-year career, he totaled 98 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks while battling through constant double-teams, and sometimes even triple-teams.
Nkemdiche’s presence wasn’t felt only on the defensive side, however. He also made his mark for the Rebels’ offense, as he scored three touchdowns in 2015.