As the days continue to wind down before April’s 2016 NFL Draft, it may be the vibe teams get from former Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche that determines how high his brother, Robert, will get drafted.
Robert has had plenty of his own off-field issues — highlighted by his fall from an Atlanta hotel in December. However, The MMQB’s Robert Klemko spoke with several NFL evaluators who indicated Robert’s relationship with Denzel might be what decides when the younger Nkemdiche gets drafted.
Denzel was dismissed from the Ole Miss football team toward the end of the 2015 season after he was hospitalized for what was called a “personal matter.” The influence Denzel has on his brother is what scares most NFL teams.
“People are worried about the brother,” one evaluator said, according to Klemko. “That’s the biggest fear. How do you say no to family? People so easily say it should be easy decision because there’s a lot of money at stake. Well, you don’t throw away 20 years of brotherhood.”
Nkemdiche has indicated Denzel will not join him in the city where he gets drafted, according to Klemko, but the older brother is still the biggest issue for NFL teams to overcome.
Ironically enough, Denzel’s success during his redshirt freshman season at Ole Miss in 2012 was the reason Robert eventually signed with Ole Miss’ highly touted 2013 recruiting class.
Most draft projections still have Nkemdiche going late in the first round, but the answers teams get about Denzel could be the ultimate factor that determines where the 6-4, 296-pounder lands.