For all the great things that have been said about Robert Nkemdiche, there is a reason he was still available when the Cardinals were on the clock at pick No. 29 in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Chief among them, a December incident that led to him falling out of a hotel window with police then finding marijuana cigarettes in the room that was under his name.
In terms of what he can do on the field, questions about his motor persisted as he was not nearly as dominant at Ole Miss as many thought he should have been.
The Cardinals have expressed confidence that Nkemdiche will be fine off the field, believing it was a one-time mistake that will not be repeated, and the (very) early returns of his on-field demeanor are quite positive.
Until he takes the field for a regular season game, though, there will be doubts as to what kind of player he will ultimately be, and that’s why in an NFL.com article with analysts picking their wild cards from the 2016 draft, David Carr chose the defensive lineman.
Robert Nkemdiche is a tremendous player — when he wants to be
Robert Nkemdiche is a supremely talented player, but when you watch him on tape, you don’t see full effort 100 percent of the time. He took plays off in college — and we’ve seen others do the same — but when he was getting after it, he was unblockable. I think Nkemdiche is with the right head coach in Bruce Arians, and I’ve heard positive comments coming out of rookie camp already about how Nkemdiche was giving it everything he has. But there’s always a question if he will revert to his college ways. Hopefully, that’s not the case.
Nkemdiche entered college as the No. 1 recruit in the nation, and at times looked every bit that kind of player. A two-time first-team All-SEC choice, he recorded 98 tackles, seven sacks, 19 tackles for loss and five passes defensed in three seasons.
The 6-foot-4, 296-pound Nkemdiche certainly has the look of a star and very well might turn into one, but until he proves the Cardinals right for taking a chance on him, questions about his future will persist.
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