Perhaps the most polarizing player in 2016’s prospect pool, Robert Nkemdiche drew the tag of the defensive lineman most likely to be a bust among scouts surveyed by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Although one scout referred to the former Ole Miss standout as a “flash player … with disaster written all over him,” in a statement relating to the former No. 1 overall recruit’s on-field abilities, it’s an old-school sentiment among scouts and executives that has decision-makers concerned.
Of the scouts interviewed, 11 of the 18 singled out Nkemdiche as the biggest bust candidate and some offered the lineman’s wider range of interests and his background as reasons why football won’t matter as much to him. Nkemdiche’s mother is a diplomat who often works in Nigeria and his father works as a cardiologist.
“He’s like a lot of kids from this generation. He’s grown up in some privilege, and that family is involved with so many different endeavors. You’re not going to get rid of that,” a scout told McGinn. “He doesn’t just think football, football, football 24/7. That’s not always the most attractive guy from a football standpoint. Coaches like them a little bit better if it’s football 24/7.”
Here’s the latest from around the league.
- Among the scouts surveyed in the Journal Sentinel piece, they were more bullish on the overall crop of defensive linemen than the pass-rushers in the draft. “It’s a tremendous draft for defensive linemen,” an NFC executive told McGinn. “But it’s probably average for pass-rushers.” Among the scouts’ preferences for certain schemes, Joey Bosa ranked as the best defensive end in a 4-3, with DeForest Buckner earning that tag for 3-4 ends. Jarran Reed ranked as the anonymous scout coalition’s best projected 4-3 tackle, and Kenny Clark topped the list for who’d thrive most as a 3-4 nose.
- The Dolphins have spent a lot of time with Nkemdiche through the draft process, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Miami holds the No. 13 pick, which is higher than Nkemdiche’s been slated to go by most outlets during the pre-draft process.
- Maryland defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson also recently met with Dolphins DC Vance Joseph, while Arizona guard/tackle Lene Maiava, former BYU defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett are also potential Fins targets, Jackson reports. Dolphins coaches have observed Koufasi and Vannett’s workouts.
- Former LSU TE/OL Dillon Gordon has hired Rosenhaus Sports for representation, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter links). Gordon was recently denied an injury hardship waiver that would have allowed him to return to the collegiate ranks, meaning he’ll instead head to the NFL draft.
- Interest in the Chargers‘ No. 3 overall pick has dissipated considerably after the Eagles made the move to acquire the Browns’ No. 2 overall selection, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.
- Noah Spence‘s trajectory points up as draft week nears, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets. Spence seems to have a wide variance between his landing spots. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay project the Eastern Kentucky pass-rusher to go off the board midway through the second round, yet several mock drafts have put the former Ohio State performer as a first-round pick.
- Josh Norman signing a cornerback-record $75MM deal will have other top-tier corners seeking raises, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Citing Chris Harris‘ assessment that left Norman out of the Broncos corner’s top five at the position for consistency reasons, Florio notes that if other notable corners view themselves as superior to Norman they’ll want this kind of money.
Dallas Robinson contributed to this report