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Cardinals take Nkemdiche as top pick

Posted by Darren Urban on April 28, 2016 – 8:33 pm

Earlier this offseason, Steve Keim talked about the second chances he was now willing to give to players after succeeding with Tyrann Mathieu. That was on display with the first round of Thursday’s draft when the Cards grabbed Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. Nkemdiche has top-five talent in the eyes of a lot of evaluators. But he’s had off-field issues, including when he fell out of a fourth-floor hotel window while under the influence. His statistics didn’t always pile up for a guy whose talent said they should have been better.

But Nkemdiche provides a huge boost to the defensive line. It provides youth for a group that has some aging parts, and guys like Calais Campbell and Frostee Rucker are also going into the last year of their respective contracts. It’s the kind of pick that can make a good team great, if Nkemdiche does what he is supposed to do, and with leaders like Campbell, Rucker, Patrick Peterson and Mathieu in the locker room, the culture is there to keep him on the right path.

Robert Nkemdiche


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51 Responses to “Cardinals take Nkemdiche as top pick”

  1. By AZCardman on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    I love this pick. This is the type of player who can put us over the top, and is a gutsy move made by an aggressive group. Good luck Robert, and stay clean!!!

  2. By All Day on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    I love love love this pick. He’s an amazing talent and if he can do well on and off the field we may have a JJ Watt type player

  3. By LadyBird04 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Dockett 2.0! He can be handled =keep his brother away. He has mad skills. Good for Kiem and Co. Campbell is a wonderful person but doesn’t have the killer instinct. IF, this young man can get his act together on the field as Dockett did, we are in for a wild ride!

    Good for Keim & Co. Just keep the intensity up every game, every play!

  4. By JimmiP on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Can’t wait for the season to begin! Great pick!!

  5. By Mark in Chandler on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Everyone is talking about Campbell being gone after this year. Keep in mind that Rucker is also a free agent next year as well. Can’t loose both.

  6. By Nick Pepe on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Almost feel like he fell into our lap.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member ’70-’71
    We are on the cusp of something great

  7. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t like the Mahieu comparison. Tyrann never had issues with his motor on the field like Nkemdiche did and I doubt Nkemdiche has anywhere near the passion for the game that Methieu does. That said, Nkemdiche is certainly worth the gamble given his outstanding physical tools.

  8. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    The biggest Boom or Bust in the draft.

    This is the truest statement that Darren wrote,
    .” It’s the kind of pick that can make a good team great, if Nkemdiche does what he is supposed to do. ”

    Could be a better version of Darnell Dockett, but the fact he wants to buy a pet panther is a concern.

    We will know in about 4 months if this is a great pick or not. If he does what he is suppose to do, he gives an inside pass rush while chandler Jones is coming off the edge. This is a guy who can run down Russell Wilson.

    Lets hope he is a boom and not a bust cuz he could be great.

  9. By All day on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    With how far Myles Jack slipped I wonder how far Jaylon Smith will. 3rd or 4th round or do you trade up take another risk and get the reward.

  10. By Steve on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Good pick, has the potential to be an impact player upfront sooner rather than later.

  11. By William Barry on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Robert, our number one pick, is rated a steal of the draft at #29. He was rated #2 player in the whole draft. He’s got great talent, and will provide our DL with even more pressure on the QB’s……

    He will fit in nicely with Chandler Jones…..love this pick, ……you could tell from his exit interview w/Suzy Kolber, he is VERY happy going to the Cards!!!!!

    We will vastly improve our defense!!!!!

  12. By georgiebird on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    When a team is 13-3 and and has two goals:
    1) to win the NFC
    2) to win the SB
    then only certain guys can get you to the top. This is a gamble but the Cards took the proper risk. Hope it works out. But SK did a good job here.

  13. By BIGAL on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    By Nick Pepe
    Wow, I kept hearing so many of the analysts saying this could happen…And I kept
    avoiding the probable reality…but then as it became possible…I’m like HOLY COW ! If this kid…in fact if I’m Steve Keim, I’m picking him up off the plane, and he is going to live/room with Larry Fiztzgerald…Need I say more!!!

  14. By clssylssy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    YES! Our SEC driven defense is gonna be crazy fun again & I am thrilled we took this kid–with Tyrann & PP, no worries about college “issues” This is what they were referencing when speaking about “football character”. I thought for sure we were going after Lynch until Denver grabbed him but this pick will pay immediate dividends. Great help for our defense–exciting!

  15. By Shane on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    I told you guys !!! Lol I really like this pick I had a feeling it would either be him or Spence & I’m happy it was him .. Hopefully he stays out of trouble like ty. But tbh I was pretty upset they passed up on jack I think he will be just fine.. But i understand why they had to pass him up , best of lucky too him . GO cards !

  16. By jeffy1951 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    A high risk high reward pick that both excites me and worries me. I believe that with the current culture in the room he will be afforded every opportunity to succeed. I hope the young man truly understands the life changing experience he can have as a Red Bird and that Tyrann and others can facilitate his growth into a star in this league. When I heard his interview right after the pick he struck me as sincere and truly contrite – I hope so. It could mean great things for him AND the Cards!

  17. By jeffy1951 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    A high risk high reward pick that both excites me and worries me. I believe that with the current culture in the room he will be afforded every opportunity to succeed. I hope the young man truly understands the life changing experience he can have as a Red Bird and that Tyrann and others can facilitate his growth into a star in this league. When I heard his interview right after the pick he struck me as sincere and truly contrite – I hope so. It could mean great things for him AND the Cards!

  18. By Mike Banks on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Awesome pick! Top 5 talent at #29! We have the coaching staff and veteran players to help this kid realize his potential.

    Love the comparisons to Darnell Dockett. #90 had his tiger and word is that Nkemdiche wants to buy a Panther with his signing bonus. I’m fine with that ecentricinty in your pet choices as long as you produce on the field.

    Top 4 teams last year– Panthers lose Norman. Broncos lose both QB’s plus talent on defense. Patriots lose Brady for the first 4 games and Chandler Jones. Meanwhile the Cardinals really don’t have many losses, add Chandler Jones, and start off with an awesome draft. Potential injuries aside, things are looking awesome for our Red Birds this year…

  19. By NJAzCardsFan on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Great pick for the Cards…!!!

    Darren- With this pick do you see Freeney returning now…???

  20. By Darren Urban on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    NJAZ —

    RE: Freeney

    Still possible.

  21. By TucsonTim on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Well…jumping out of a 4th story window certainly does make an impact

    Super hero sh##

    The whole family thing could be a reality TV show or the next season of Ballers. I could see BA getting a starring role trying to manage this psycho.

    But good choice. Do we want boy scouts or QB killers…..I’ll take the latter; especially with 93 getting 2 tackles in 2 playoff games

  22. By jerrytown on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Stoked on Nkemdiche. Dude is going to be an absolute stud, couldn’t have gone to a better situation…BA is the perfect coach for him, and apparently they had a really good vibe. We spent more time with Robert than any other player.

    For the record, the weed wasn’t his as I understand it. One of his friends had it in the room and they all got busted for it. There’s a great article in ESPN magazine about him. He seems like a cool guy, down to earth and very polite and smart…just misunderstood. We got a steal for sure!

  23. By bobby62914 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    I hope I am wrong about this guy; something about him does not sit well with me.

  24. By scottnapa on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    He has talent and takes plays off.
    He wants a pet panther.

    he plays like Suh and parties like Mike Tyson.
    This is leap in trust to embrace the risks of character and culture.
    Very different from the drafting of team captains in every round as in year past.

  25. By Marlin on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Great Pick….period!

  26. By Dr. G. on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    An alternate view – – The upside of this guy on the field is obvious, but as I read his lengthy bio, he demos resistance to acclamation, having chosen to do things in his own time and method. He was less than cordial at the combine and other workouts, choosing to ridicule the coaches instead while refusing some skill testing. He’s not been properly socialized. Read on; I’m not finished.

    He may be a coaching nightmare, but it seems Keim//BA and company have been OK with trying to help this kind of player, eg., Tyrann, Chandler Jones, etc.

    Now, for those who have read my occasional commentary on many of the young men who are essentially victims of cavalier and/or absentee parenting, you know that Nkemdiche fits this mould. His mother left for her home country in Africa, and the dad was only around on some weekends. So he lived with with friends and coaches to survive.

    Basically he is just a kid…when Keim, BA and our coaches hug him and welcome him to the Cards’ family, he may just light up and turn out like Tyrann..! He really needs to start a new life here, find honorable friends, and realize the future can be fantastic with hard work and a sound fiscal plan without the drag down posse. It won’t be easy when his old hangers-on start raggin’ on him to hang out.

    Good luck ‘Diche…!!! You can do this, and then listen to the fans cheers for you…

  27. By Mr. Know it All on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    I agree potential DROY.

  28. By texascard on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Great. More drug issues. No college production. I can’t believe the bengals didn’t trade up to get him. Where’s d wash?

  29. By Big Ken on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Not as risky as Noah Spence, a great pick here.

  30. By Eric G on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Not happy about this pick. Don’t care about the off field issues much as I think BA and the organization help him there. However, I do have major concerns about his production. The numbers just aren’t there. Yeah I’m sure some of that is the fact that teams may have doubled him given that he was the best lineman, but combine it with the fact that he takes games off, then I have a major issue with the pick. This was literally the one name I didn’t want to hear called last night.

  31. By rod on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Don’t like the pick. Off field issues aside I don’t think you pair up a guy who doesn’t give 100% every play with a guy in Campbell that coach already says should be dominant in games where he wasn’t.

    But if NK gives 100% and stays clean and ditches those clowns who were at his table I’m all for it.

  32. By RagingREDBird on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    I think this will put to bed Floyd trade talk and I think we will resign Powers now. If a CB or WR fell to the Cards in the first round I don’t think that would be the case

    I also wonder if all the talk of QB is why Denver traded up. Or If SF traded up due to some fear cause of BA was talking about picking a guard and moving him to Center??

  33. By Jonathan on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    If you can’t get a QB, sack someone else’s.

  34. By joe 67 on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    One thing a lot of you may be overlooking, assuming Jones and the new pick live up to what we all hope, is just how much better Calais has just become. No longer can be double teamed on almost every play. And of course the same can be said for Rucher and the other rushers.
    Some risk with this pick but could be well worth it.

  35. By TucsonTim on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Tyrann got in trouble engaging in a socially accepted, albeit illegal, recreational drug. Not condoning it, but lets be real about college kids. I don’t think Tyrann is or ever was a psycho. And wasn’t Tyrann a Heisman candidate?

    I don’t get the analogies.

  36. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    TucsonTim —

    RE: Analogies

    Who ever referred to Nkemdiche as a psycho?

  37. By Dynosoar on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    I watched Roberts friends as his name was called and they were dressed all gangster like. Then again, that certainly doesn’t mean they are gangsters. And I do love my own fedora, so with that…

    I also noticed after we picked Nkemdiche, Seattle picked an offensive lineman and a big guy at that. Looks like the 49ers got their version of CC as well.

    I think a bigger blunder in the 1st round was the sports jacket BA was wearing. His coolness factor thawed some with that choice. Haha!

  38. By clssylssy on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    It seems many aren’t crediting BASK with doing their due diligence when,in fact, they have done greater in depth studies on potential picks than in previous years. Patrick P seemed thrilled with this pick and as a fellow SEC player, I’m sure is a better judge than all the so called “experts”. Of any team in the NFL, there couldn’t be a better environment for polishing up some of these players into something special. When it comes down to it college is a whole other world & in the rearview mirror. We need to focus on OUR team goals because a lot of our competition just got a lot better!

  39. By Azhoser on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    What happened to the character block that was added by the Cards for this draft? I guess it starts in round 3. DT was the deepest position in the draft and the Cards couldn’t find someone that hasn’t been thrown off of their college team!

  40. By Brian T on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    love the pick as well. I wonder if he was on the radar or who got picked ahead of us that we wanted (QB?). Wonder if we will also take a shop at Jack (dont think he will be there) or the ND player, of if this “risk” eliminates those players

  41. By DTL on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Disruptive force. DD reincarate, but faster. Wondered if Nke or Spence, like that he’s bull rusher who can also play wider…love this pick. He’s a young man, Cards can help him grow. Bravo.

  42. By CreditCard on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Shopping list:

    1. Outside Linebacker for needed pass rush. Done.
    2. Add depth and length to safety position Done
    3. Fill vacant guard position with savvy veteran. Done
    4. Add interior push to DL to help facility outside pass rush. Done
    5. Fill vacant Center position
    6. Add depth to cornerback position
    7. Fill long snapper position
    8. Add depth to O-Line
    9. Add depth to special teams
    10. Add depth to inside Linebacker position.

  43. By Tradersbrain on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Darren –

    Is Nkemdiche a “day-one” starter? The talking heads say this guy had most of his production against zone blocking schemes. My hope is that we are not looking at another project player.

  44. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Traders —

    RE: Nkemdiche

    He’ll be in the rotation from day one. A starter, we will see.

  45. By Scott H on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    I like that the Cardinals do not shy away from players who have some “issues” if the player is also a heck of a player. I like that they have the confidence in their coaches AND in their locker room to steer guys in the right direction and keep them on the right track. That all speaks to the culture that has been created here.

    I LOVE that the organization also does their homework on these guys and shows some ability to discriminate between a guy like Tyrann Mathieu and an outright criminal like the one the Cowboys – who clearly have NO ability to discriminate – took in last year. We know that is not going to happen here.

    That said….we have to remember these guys are still young and they are still human beings and there are no guarantees he will turn out as well as the Honey Badger did. I can’t help feeling a twinge of wondering how many times you can go to this well before it it might come back to bite you.

    But I have no problems with this pick, and I love that they are doing as much as they can to improve the pass rush. I was hoping they were gonna go DL or CB with the first pick and they did.

    After taking an O-lineman in the first round last year that we haven’t even SEEN yet…..it is good to hear that he is expected to be in the mix from day one.

    Darren – and some others whose opinions I have already heard – points out that he has perhaps not performed to his potential ( stats not matching what the potential would seem to be ), but….that is another “issue” that the culture of this team seems well-suited to address. As BA has said ( and if you saw his Football LIfe episode, you saw it & heard it for yourself ), if your football sucks, I’m gonna tell you your football sucks. That tells me that if this kid has a potential that seems apparent but he isn’t reaching it, he is gonna hear about it and he will be challenged to become what he should be.

  46. By Dr. G. on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    When you lay with the dogs, one can expect to get fleas.! Let him dust them and leave them behind or it will be his stubborn undoing.

    Let’s see a modest signing ((perform and behave)) bonus. i am rooting for him to change it up and even shock himself.!

  47. By texascard on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    I’m all for you guys seeing this as a quality pick but please refrain from comparing this guy to the honey badger. Maybe they are both smokers but that’s as far as it goes. The honey badger was and is a passionate football player. He probably outplays his talent (which is substantial) because of his love of the game of football. It’s a joy to watch. This latest drugged out thug is just a waste of talent. A quitter. A loser. A team killer. We can’t win by putting poison like this in the locker room. PP doesn’t have better things to do than run a daycare for wayward boys? Please sk quit drinking your own koo laid and add teammates not talent!!!!!!!!!!

  48. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    texascard —

    RE: Comparisons

    I could find plenty of people who said the same things about Tyrann when he was coming out for the draft.

  49. By Scott H on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    texascard –

    RE: Comparisons

    I think people ( myself, anyway ) are making GENERAL comparisons due to the simple fact that both players had some issues off the field, and it affected both players on draft day. And substance use was a factor in both cases, was it not? How that doesn’t make sense to you…..I have no idea. That is a fair comparison, based on their college careers.

    Sounds to me like YOU have an issue with this new kid, and that’s fine. But calling him a team killer less than 24 hours after he was drafted? A bit much. You don’t have a crystal ball. YOUR issues with this kid don’t mean the rest of us don’t have a clue.

    The Honey Badger has had 3 seasons to show that he is a dedicated kid – dedicated to being a better person and a damn good football player. Again, he’s had 3 seasons. Maybe we could give this new kid more than, say….24 hours before we condemn him to being a quitter and a loser? Is that asking too much here??

    C’mon, man.

  50. By faster on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    nkemdiche?
    i had all of the free agency except mathis with a A+, end even mathis with his character concerns should be a A-.
    but this draft? not knowing how to place nkemdiche, lets wait and see.

  51. By Jon on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply

    Sure are what appear to be a lot of clingers-on pictured in the embedded draft video here.

    http://www.azcardinals.com/news-and-events/article-2/Cardinals-Grab-Robert-Nkemdiche-In-First/73697478-2634-4786-a0ec-0ecdb34805b1

    That is not an encouraging look. Team mission number one should be to dispose of these blood suckers post haste.

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