Most college players treat themselves to a new house, car or other lavish item upon being drafted. Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, on the other hand, wants to buy an exotic pet.
Nkemdiche told ESPN.com’s Seth Wickersham he plans to buy a pet panther once he’s drafted. Would you expect anything more atypical from quite possibly the most enigmatic player in this draft class?
Many people, including talent evaluators, would peg this as one of the numerous red flags already overstuffed into Nkemdiche’s draft file. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by the threat of the panther going rogue.
“If someone comes over and is scared, I’ll put the panther away,” Nkemdiche told Wickersham.
Once viewed as one of the best players in the 2016 class, Nkemdiche now has a more muddled draft stock than ever. His talent is obvious, but so are his off-field transgressions. Most notably, Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana following an incident during which he fell out of a hotel window before the Sugar Bowl.
Scouts are periled by Nkemdiche’s relationship with his brother, Denzel, who was dismissed from Ole Miss last season. The risk may not outweigh the reward for some talent evaluators.
But Nkemdiche doesn’t seem to care. Either way, he’s getting a panther.