Arizona Cardinals: Breakout Candidates for 2017

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Robert Nkemdiche, DL

Nkemdiche was taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The decision to draft Nkemdiche was high-risk, high-reward as he was seen as a player with a low motor. There were instances in college where it seemed the ultra-talented defensive lineman did not try.

Those concerns rang true in his first season as cardinal red. For most of his first season, Robert Nkemdiche was left inactive. Even though he was able to crack the rotation late in the lost season, he still received little playing time. Just like Gunter, Nkemdiche’s importance sky-rockets with the inevitable departure of Calais Campbell.

If Nkemdiche can improve on his work ethic and dig into game film and the playbook (and stops taking plays off), there is little doubt he can become a premier defender in the National Football League. The only question is whether or not he is up for it, and it seems like he may finally be.