Robert Nkemdiche   DE/DT   Ole Miss

Robert has remarkable 1-gap attack talent to impact and get into the backfield. He makes sacks and tackles for losses; in general, he creates havoc for any offensive team that he is up against. He loves to pass rush and is quick off the line of scrimmage playing any one of the defensive line positions in a pass rushing situation. Robert does a solid job against the run when he is not up against double coverage, but his true strength and talent that he will bring to the NFL level is as a big, strong, powerful (yet quicker than most offensive lineman) pass rushing nightmare of a football player. He has just enough agility to change direction and come off the edge to turn the corner and make a sack as an outside pass rusher. He has the explosion off the line, the size, length, hand/foot quickness as an inside pass rusher also. Robert loves to rush the passer and because of his size and athletic talent to do just that, I suspect he will be a pass rushing nightmare for offensive coordinators to have to game plan against for years to come.

Robert gives excellent effort on the field; however, there is an old saying, “work smarter not harder”. Robert has a lot to learn about setting up offensive linemen and when he does, he could become almost impossible to stop as a pass rusher. He has problems being stout against the run because of poor techniques overall, especially against double teams. On film, he seems not to be as interested in stopping the run as he is in rushing the passer. His off-field issues make me wonder if I can trust Robert and how mature off the field he will be. Making good decisions, playing smart off the field and also having a good work ethic to improve are all legitimate questions that Robert will have to answer.

Robert has top ten talent, but his off field issues and his lack of concern in defending against the run are troubling and raise some red flags for me. We are all told by the NFL teams that character is an important issue, but the truth is, talent trumps character in every case for those same teams if a player (like Robert) has unique athletic abilities. As a person who looks at the draft from an owner’s point of view, I am very concerned about Robert’s one dimensional play on the field that sends signals that he is not a true team player. For me, the first rule of a defensive lineman is how well they stop the run. Stopping the run is an attitude and it is the grunt work for a defensive lineman. You don’t get much media notice from stopping the run; you do get it if you are a fancy pass rusher. The signal Robert sends to me with his play on the field is that he is a boom or bust player. Add to that his poor decisions off the field lately and I’m just not ready to jump through any hoops to select this kid early in the draft. There is no doubt about his potential to impact for the team that selects him but for me personally, I would wait and let someone else go through the growing pains. I would draft him, but not until the 2nd round. This is why we use the two board system. We all know Robert (barring any strange issues) before the draft will be selected most likely in the first round -- I’m just saying that for me personally, I would wait and selected him later if he fell. I rate “character” on the field and off as important as talent.

Drew Boylhart  FEB.2016