The Arizona Cardinals’ selection of Robert Nkemdiche seemed like a win-win for both the team and the player.
Nkemdiche landed on a team where draft prospects with off-field issues have thrived, and the Cardinals history of finding value in these players is noteworthy.
Those facts make Nkemdiche seem like a no-brainer for Arizona’s best pick in the draft, but ESPN’s Todd McShay disagrees.
I thought about putting Robert Nkemdiche here. I get why they took him in the first round, and as an organization, they’ve been good at handling players with baggage. But one thing that scares me off: Chandler Jones has had issues with synthetic marijuana, and now he’ll be in the same meeting room with Nkemdiche, who has had his own off-field problems.
Instead, McShay went with sixth-round selection Harlan Miller.
So I went with Miller, on whom we had a fourth-round grade — the Cardinals got him in the sixth. His combine performance scared off a lot of teams (4.65-second 40; 4.43 short shuttle), but some guys are better players than testers. With Tyrann Mathieu coming off injury and some other unanswered questions in the secondary, Miller is capable of making the roster and contributing, which is great for a sixth-rounder.
Miller will look to find ways of contributing as a hybrid defensive player, similar to the way Mathieu and Deone Bucannon did in their early years with the team.
Scouts Inc.’s Steve Muench listed the pros and cons of Miller as a football player.
A small-school prospect who stood out at the Senior Bowl, Miller has the ball skills and instincts to develop into a playmaker. He also shows good balance and body control transitioning in and of breaks on tape, but he didn’t test well at the scouting combine. There are concerns about his ability to make the jump from FCS SE Louisiana to the NFL, even though he played well in Mobile, Alabama. There’s also room for improvement when it comes to Miller’s ability to defend the run.
The Cardinals have had recent success in the sixth round.
2013 sixth-rounder Andre Ellington has made a major impact in Arizona’s backfield since being drafted and 2012 sixth-rounder Justin Bethel has made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player. Bethel is also expected to compete for the starting cornerback spot opposite of Patrick Peterson.