-Nkemdiche has the body of a Greek Demigod. I wouldn't be shocked if he has less than 3% body fat on him, with an extremely muscular build. The question is how much of this is aesthetic strength vs. functional strength?
-Nkemdiche is the ultimate athlete, playing football, basketball and track at Grayson HS. Can reportedly run a 40 in the 4.5 range, and if he does that in Indy, underwear scouts are going to freak out. Will blow up the combine.
-Nkemdiche has one of the most explosive first steps that I have seen, much like Aaron Donald. However, what you do not see from Nkemdiche that you see from Donald is the conversion of the step to power.
-Nkemdiche displays incredible closing speed and is a strong form tackler, consistently wrapping up ball-carriers. He accelerates when he "smells blood in the water." If he can gain even two steps build-up in the backfield, he is a violent striker.
-If he cannot get by on a 1v1 battle with a lineman with a finesse move, Nkemdiche has difficulty shedding, but he is so lightning off the snap that his step and a quick swim give heavier linemen fits and often puts them on their heels.
-Nkemdiche can be most active in a defense that employs lots of stunts. This allows Nkemdiche to build up a little steam and use his momentum to push offensive linemen backwards with his inertia. In my opinion, the further away from the 1 you move Nkemdiche, the more he can use his natural athleticism to win. He is not a power guy - all finesse.
-USE YOUR HANDS! Nkemdiche is not a strong technician with his hands and this allows offensive lineman to get their hands onto his frame immediately, drowning him out of plays. He will often try to get his hands on the outside shoulder of the linemen and try to push him inside, but his lack of functional strength results in him conducting a semi-spin move, ending with his back to the passer.
-Needs to develop a wider arsenal of pass rushing moves. Tried a spin move for the first time in the 4th quarter vs. Alabama when taking on RG Alphonse Taylor and left him clutching air, sacking the QB. A good DL coach will do wonders for Nkemdiche.
-Play recognition can be improved, as Nkemdiche will sometimes get fooled on the occasional play action/zone read/HB draw or not play all the way through the whistle.
-Nkemdiche doesn't have a bad motor, per se, but as soon as he feels he is out of the play, he will shut it down. This may also be because Nkemdiche plays every defensive snap and he knows he must pace himself, so if he has a rotation in the NFL, he will be more effective and execute his plays with more conviction. As long as he feels he is in the mix, however, he seems hungry and revved up to make a play.
-Character? We don't have to delve into detail about Nkemdiche's publically chronicled adventures with weed & spice, and falling out the hotel window, and suspension for his final collegiate Bowl game. Furthermore, scouts worry that his brother and his entourage are an extremely negative influence on Robert despite a well-to-do upbringing (father is a cardiologist, mother is a politician who frequently visits their native Nigeria). Also, there have been reports from within the Ole Miss community that Robert is an extremely eccentric, some might even say "weird" guy off the field - a Randy Gregory type, if you will. His dedication to wanting to be great is a huge question mark. Nkemdiche is only 21 years old, so scouts and GMs are going to have to dig deep to ascertain if all his off-field mishaps are attributed to immaturity or just having a few screws loose.
-Nkemdiche's career numbers while at Ole Miss are not particularly impressive. In over 29 games, he has compiled only 6.0 sacks and zero forced fumbles (2 were in one game vs. Miss State in the 2015 Egg Bowl). I understand that he was double teamed a ton in college, but teams who pick in the Top 15 of the draft tend to prefer players who have made more of a tangible, quantitative impact from a pass rushing DT or 3-4 end position. You have to think - were it not for him being the #1 recruit coming out of high school, would he be this high on the radar with those seasons?
GRADE: 78 OVERALL
For information on our grading system, click here.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON: Dominique Easley
40 YARD TIME: 4.56 (reported)
BENCH PRESS: TBD
3 CONE DRILL: TBD
SHORT SHUTTLE: TBD
VERTICAL JUMP: TBD
BROAD JUMP: TBD
BEST TEAM FITS: Cowboys (3T), Jaguars (Strongside DE), Buccaneers (Tampa 2 DT), Giants (3T), Saints (5T), Lions (3T), Falcons (Strongside DE)
ROBERT NKEMDICHE CAREER STATS
A special thank you to www.draftbreakdown.com for the footage.