Arizona Cardinals in a Defensive Draft

mandatory credit: Fred Kaufman
mandatory credit: Fred Kaufman /
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Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

This year, we see the Cardinals making some very big picks, ranging from Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss and Brandon Williams of Texas A&M, and at the same time, proving a point. The Cardinals were estimated to take an offensive player in the draft, in particular center, but instead focused on the defensive side of the ball.

Now, to the much awaited evaluation of the two picks, you have one physical beast with an unbelievable upside, and a large amount of “off-field” skepticism. Nkemdiche (pronounced kim-di-chee), was once considered the number one prospect in the country, and showed so much promise to fulfill big expectations at Ole Miss. In the beginning of the draft process, I told multiple fans, “I’m sorry, but the Cardinals will not take on a problem-child”, in which I tell you I’m sorry and I was completely wrong.

To simply say that I threw this young man under the bus would be an understatement. My thought process behind that was that analysts and scouts were so determined to say “the Cardinals are the perfect place for Nkemdiche because they fixed Tyrann Mathieu”, but I thought was the Cardinals should not bring a guy just because of that. It should be because of talent.

Do you think that his top-5 talents is enough to ignore a possible red-flag character? That’s what I thought the Cardinals should think about. I (along with others) let the red-flag character get in the way of his future career, and I shouldn’t think that way. Honestly, Nkemdiche isn’t actually a red-flag kind of player, he is actually a stand-up kind of guy. He plays with a eagerness to learn, with Hugh Freeze prioritizing him into the defense, he had no time to learn the game. He played a full 70-90 plays a game because of his talent. What does that say to you? Can you (hypothetically) go 70-90 plays at full speed for a full 60 minutes, especially against NFL caliber offensive lineman?

Then again, if it were an effort type of player, it’s mostly to make up for God-given ability, which Rob has. He is coming into a very strong defensive line, one that will probably emphasize his motor into a rotation of 25-30 plays. Nkemdiche is what the Cardinals said at the presser, a beast who can “play at every down position, maybe even linebacker”, so that has to be exciting.

Next: Speedster with Upside, Nah