Scouting Report: Robert Nkemdiche

Player Background:

The number one prospect coming out of high school in the 2013 class.  Robert Nkemdiche is an athletic specimen with imposing size at 6’3″ and 294lbs.  Though Nkemdiche is an incredible talent, his production never matched up with his athletic ability.  Even with the lack of production, he was still a Freshman All-American and two time Second Team All-American. Nkemdiche has all world talent and athleticism, but he has made questionable decisions off the field and lacked consistent production on the field.

Strengths:

Robert Nkemdiche is an naturally special athlete, at 6’3″ and 294lbs he played running back, receiver and along defensive line.  Not only did he catch and carry the ball on offense, but he was a serious threat after the catch and running the ball. Nkemdiche has rare ability at his size and a unique combination of speed and strength.  He can win with both power and finesse anywhere on the defensive line.

Naturally, his versatility is another strength. Nkemdiche is scheme diverse and can play anywhere along the 4-3 defensive line or play the defensive end in a 3-4 defense.  He can also play a role similiar to what J.J. Watt does on the Texans in a red-zone package, playing tight end or lining up in the backfield.  He is the type of player that creative defensive coordinators will covet as he can erase mis-matches and cause confusion for the offensive line.

Weaknesses:

Nkemdiche had a terrible end to his career off the field as he was arrested for marijuana possession after taking a fall from a hotel in Atlanta.  He was then suspended from the upcoming bowl game and decided to enter the NFL draft.

On film Nkemdiche is frustrating to watch as he frequently disappears, while also making flash plays.  He has a tendency to play to the level of his competition, only occasionally flashing dominance.  Inconsistency is the biggest knock on Nkemdiche, he failed to be consistent both on and off the field.

Projection:

Robert Nkemdiche is a generational talent that is a high risk, high reward pick.  He will either be a generational talent at the position like J.J. Watt and Mario Williams. Nkemdiche is best suited to play 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end, he has the potential 10+ sack player who causes havoc in the backfield. Nkemdiche is the type of player that could either be an immediate impact player like Aaron Donald and Warren Sapp or flame out of the league within a year or two.  If he has learned from his mistakes and is coached well, he projects similarly to Michael Bennett.  Michael Bennett is a matchup nightmare on the defensive line as he can lineup anywhere and beat blockers. Nkemdiche has similiar versatility to Bennett but is a more explosive and twitchy athlete.

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