Position: Defensive Tackle
Weight: 296 pounds
School: Ole Miss Rebels
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.87 seconds
Bench press (225 pounds): 28 reps
Vertical jump: 35 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches
Robert Nkemdiche 2016 NFL Draft Profile
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze’s 2013 recruiting class was widely looked at as one of the best in program history. Three players from that group, including Robert Nkemdiche, are all expected to be off the board on day one this year. The others are offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. All three declared for the draft as juniors.
Nkemdiche made an immediate impact on the Rebels defensive front. He started ten games as a freshman and picked up conference all-Freshman honors and was named to numerous Freshman all-American teams. Over the next two seasons, he would start all 24 games he would appear in. As a sophomore, he was part of a defensive unit that allowed just 16 points per game (first nationally). A year later, the Rebels would concede just nine rushing touchdowns (t-third nationally). Both years he would be named second team AP All-American.
Despite the accolades, Nkemdiche carries question marks regarding his judgment. This after a bizarre incident in mid-December when he fell out of his room on the fourth floor of an Atlanta hotel. He would suffer only minor injuries but was eventually charged by police with possession of marijuana. Ole Miss subsequently suspended him for the team’s January 1st appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
- solidly muscular build, especially below the waist.
- as explosive an initial move off the snap as any defensive line prospect in the draft.
- has a level of acceleration and quickness that belies his size.
- combination of speed and gap awareness enables him to shed double teams.
- exceptional lateral footwork.
- versatile pass rusher; can line up inside as well as on the edge.
- nearly impossible for opposing players to escape once he has them wrapped up.
- active hands that can easily give him the advantage at point of attack.
- tends to lose leverage on forward lean, forcing him to get bull-rushed by blockers.
- doesn’t seem to move in a manner that will confuse NFL linemen.
- stat numbers of 11 tackles for loss and five sacks last two seasons not exactly impressive.
- appears overly gassed late in games.
- might need to improve work ethic in order to succeed at next level.
- legitimate off-the-field concerns after hotel incident in Atlanta.
NFL Comparison: Nick Fairley
Teams with Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Bucs
Projection: middle to late first round
Nkemdiche came to Ole Miss as one of the most highly-touted players out of high school. Three years later, he finds himself in a similar situation at the close of his college career. Only in this case, there’s the lucrative prospect of an NFL career and the millions that come with it. Scouts, executives and coaches around the league agree that he has a great deal of potential as a future interior defensive lineman at the next level. However, they also have a certain amount of concern over his character and judgment after the high profile incident in Atlanta that caused him to miss a very important game for his team. Though there’s the possibility of him dropping, most big boards still have him getting his name called on day one.