The Arizona Cardinals have been waiting for four years for defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche to emerge as a star
When he was drafted out of Mississippi in 2016, there wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare. There was some skepticism but also some excitement from Arizona Cardinals fans that they may have gotten a steal at the end of the first round.
It turns out it wasn’t so much of a steal on the Cardinals part. It has been more of a steal on Nkemdiche’s part, as in he’s stealing money. But, it’s part of the process, so you can’t blame him.
He has been dealing with injury ever since he was put in a Cardinals uniform. He also didn’t put forth an effort Cardinals coaches had hoped for early on.
However despite the search to improve the defensive line this offseason, whether it is through free agency or draft, the Cardinals don’t seem to be giving up on Nkemdiche, yet. That is the right move.
This upcoming season though could be it for Nkemdiche. It is likely a make or break year. He is coming off a 2018 that wasn’t terrific but had flashes of the guy the Cardinals thought they were getting back in 2016.
Nkemdiche had 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2018. He played especially well in a game the rest of the defense seemed to take off in a 45-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He had 2.5 sacks that day.
It was a sign that even others aren’t at their peak, Nkemdiche can be and pick them up. It was a sign of his character. The Cardinals need players who not only have the talent but the desire.
Desire only gets you so far though. You can also have all the talent in the world. However this is a production-based business. You need to produce results. In 2019, Nkemdiche will need to do just that.