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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

Former Ole Miss Defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is evaluated for the 2016 NFL Draft.

 

Robert Nkemdiche - Ole Miss

 

Position: Defensive End/Tackle

 

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 294 lbs.

Year: Junior

Hometown: Loganville, GA

Experience: 3 Seasons (3-year starter)

 

 

Measurables:

40yd dash: 4.87s

Broad jump: 116 inches

Vertical: 35 inches

3-cone: DNP

20yd. Shuttle: DNP

Bench Press: 28 reps

 

 

Career Notes: Nkemdiche earned All-American Second Team Honors in 2015 and 2014. He was also awarded All-SEC First Team in each of those years. Earlier in his career, he was awarded First Team Freshman All-America, and was recognized as an All-SEC Freshman.

 

Nkemdiche’s sack totals tell the tale of a player who was inefficient in the pass rush. As a junior, he had a career game against Alabama, penetrating the backfield in the run game, and recording half a sack. He also showed up against Mississippi State at the end of the year, getting his hands on the quarterback multiple times.

 

Nkemdiche’s career is defined more by what you can see on the tape than what you can see in the box score. He never lit up the stat sheet with numbers, but he never disappeared from a game. He never found a home on the line and traveled from end to tackle throughout possessions. His frame is as full as it can get, but his technique has far from peaked.

 

 

Injury Report: Nkemdiche missed two games as a freshman with hamstring injuries, and missed the Texas A&M game in 2015.

 

 

Career Stats:

Games Played: 29

Tackles: 81

Assisted: 40

Tackles for loss: 16

Sacks: 6

Full stats at: http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/robert-nkemdiche-1.html

 

 

Analysis:

Against the Run: 2.5/5.0

Nkemdiche has the power in his legs to absorb double teams, but often found himself floundering due to leverage issues. Offensive lineman consistently got under his pads and left him reeling in the run. When compromised, Nkemdiche would attempt to spin out of blocks, usually to his own detriment, taking himself out of the play entirely. He did have sporadic success getting off the ball quickly and splitting occasional double teams, but rarely secured tackles for loss.

 

Pass Rush: 2.0/5.0

Though he has a body fit for an edge defender, he showed little of the necessary technique. He consistently buried his hands in offensive lineman, never batting away opponents’ hands to work through blocks. He flashed a spin move every once in a while that gained no ground. He looked to gain control over an effective swim in late games against Auburn and Mississippi State in 2015. Nkemdiche rarely seemed to know where the quarterback was in pursuit or contain.

 

Agility: 5.0/5.0

Nkemdiche is a weak-side linebacker in a defensive lineman’s body. He is agile and has useful lateral speed. Not much of that quickness was transferred into power in the pass or the run. As with his strength, the tools for great footwork are there, but he has to develop skills which are, at best, in their infancy.

 

Impact Play Ability: 3.3 /5.0

Strong hands, powerful legs, and quick feet mean Nkemdiche was a disruptive force on any given down. Vision limited Nkemdiche. He could occasionally break into the backfield of the play-side in the run, but hardly ever penetrated in the pass (except for screen plays). He drew the attention of many double teams, and changed rushing lanes for running backs. However, his lack of sack production and pedestrian tackle-for-loss totals are emblematic of a player who needs to develop a habit of finishing plays.

 

Overall Grade: 3.2/5.0

Nkemdiche is versatile enough, young enough, and raw enough, that he can become any number of things for whoever drafts him. His best fit (based on height, build, and athletic advantages) would be a strong side DE in a 4-3 defense. He has the skills to be an anchor on defense at a 5-technique, his quickness would also be an advantage to rotate inside as a 3-technique on passing downs. He needs to improve his tackling and needs to show that he knows where passers and runners are when fighting through blockers.

 

Off the field, of course, running through a plateglass window while intoxicated is not what you want from first round talent. Considering his skills are undeveloped and GMs have voiced concern about character issues, Nkemdiche could very well fall to the second round.

 

 

If drafted by the Packers:

Though his prototypical fit is in a 4-3, he could serve another role. Scout Justis Mosqueda of Bleacher Report speculated that Nkemdiche may fit as a 3-4 OLB. He currently stands at 6’3”, 294 lbs. Not your average linebacker, but neither is Julius Peppers at 6’7”, 287 lbs. or  Kansas City’s Tamba Hali at 6’3”, 275 lbs. It would be a stretch to line him up outside of the tackle standing up, but his quickness would be deadly if he could be coached up to turn speed into power.

 

He would see a lot of first and second down snaps early, but issues with anchoring in would keep him sidelined during third-and-short situations. Similarly, the Packers would likely prefer to have him on the sideline in favor of Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, and Mike Daniels in obvious passing downs. Though some refer to him as a boom-or-bust prospect, at worst, Nkemdiche is a pedestrian defensive lineman with potential for big plays. If he falls to Day 2, the Packers will have a tough time passing up his level of talent.

 
 

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Comments (1)

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 01, 2016 at 03:56 pm

A possible move to 3-4 outside linebacker.

Right up the Packers alley of late and this being the biggest square peg being hammered into a round hole...4.87 40 speed is now the bar of acceptance fill the position. I know...if and when he catches someone he'll know he got caught and hit.
Can we just draft any and all 290 lb + with 4.8+ speed and use them as our front seven all game every game and call the experimenting over and just do it.

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