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Could the Redskins land DL Robert Nkemdiche in the second round (or later)?

Mar 2, 2016, 12:00 PM EDT


It’s not a secret that the Redskins would like to land a big defensive lineman, maybe two of them, in the upcoming NFL draft. One of the linemen they interviewed during the scouting combine was Ole Miss tackle Robert Nkemdiche. We don’t know how that particular interview went but Nkemdiche did not impress every general manager he talked to.

You didn’t need to be in one of the private interview rooms in Indianapolis to hear him say some alarming things; he said plenty during his scheduled session at the podium with the media. One was about his play on the field:

“There are times I didn’t finish,” he said to the media at the combine. “I was lazy on some plays at times, but I told them I’m going to keep growing as a player.”

The honesty was refreshing but admission was startling. He’s not the first college player who underutilized great physical tools; indeed, the player with a “high motor” is more the exception rather than the rule. But Nkemdiche’s low level of production at Mississippi was suspect given his native ability so the open admission of the “lazy” characteristic is a red flag.

Nkemdiche’s account of an incident in an Atlanta hotel last December raised some eyebrows as well. He was arrested for marijuana possession after he fell out of a window in the hotel. That prompted the Rebels to suspend him for their bowl game.

He did take some responsibility for what happened, saying he was drunk when he fell out of the window. But he denied that the marijuana in the hotel room was his.

“There were more people in my room,” he said. “The hotel was under my name. Nobody wanted to take the fall. It had to go under my name. It just happened to play out like that.”

He even named names, saying that Ole Miss teammate Laremy Tunsil, the offensive tackle who is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick, was in the room when it happened.

The performance at the podium, along with the game tape, did not impress NFL scouts and general managers. There is talk that Nkemdiche could take another fall, this one perhaps worse than the one he took in Atlanta. He could start to fall in the draft.

Here is where things could get interesting for McCloughan and the Redskins. Suppose Nkemdiche is still there when their pick rolls around in the second round? Or even the third? While the organization stayed away from players with character questions in the draft last year, at some point the upside of the talent could outweigh the character risk.

For McCloughan, events like the incident in the Atlanta hotel and the player’s performance on the podium in Indianapolis won’t decide whether or not he will consider Nkemdiche at any point in the draft. That decision will be made by the game tape and by a deeper look into Nkemdiche’s background.

If he is somewhere on the Redskins’ board, there could come a point in the draft where the talent of the player and the need at the position makes him too much of a value to pass up.

Sometimes teams are rewarded for taking character risks in the draft. The Bengals have gotten good play, including a Pro Bowl appearance, out of Vontaze Burfict, who went undrafted out of Arizona State due to numerous red flags. But the Cowboys took a chance on Randy Gregory last year and he is going to be suspended for the first four games of 2016 due to multiple failed drug tests.

I suspect that the Redskins aren’t in the position to gamble with a pick in the first three rounds of the draft. But at some point, a player’s talent could make the risk worth the reward.

  1. bangkokben - Mar 2, 2016 at 12:24 PM

    If Vontaze Burfict is the best example, then the playoff game against the Steelers should be all anyone needs to see to consider the risks.

    Now, about Nkemdiche? The guy doesn’t seem to LOOOOVE football. So I doubt he winds up in B&G in the fourth round but it all depends on how many DL they’ve drafted already.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 2, 2016 at 1:24 PM

      Somebody will take him high based on his athleticism, so I can’t see him making it to our 2nd round pick, Rich.

      And I’m pretty sure that high-picker won’t be McGlue. Billings stock seems to have dropped some, based on him being shorter than advertised (which was already short). But that doesn’t change what he did as a player in college. I’d love to see him make to our 2nd round pick.

      And then there’s Chris Jones, who showed quite a bit of himself at the Combine…

  2. kenlinkins - Mar 2, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    My Draft for this week: I traded back with Carolina in first round to gain extra 2nd and 3rd round picks:
    1-30 Austin Johnson DT / NT Penn St. (Is a true NT)
    2-22 Kevin Dodd DE Clem (pass rusher to replace Hatcher in 2017)
    2-31 Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville (too good to pass up, replaces Pea in 2017)
    3-21 Harlan Miller CB S. Lou (will play in 2016, plus special teams)
    3-31 Nick Vannett TE Ohio State (the TE needed, will play in 2016)
    4-12 Keyarris Garrett WR Tulsa (sleeper at WR, will be key in 2017)
    5-19 C J Prosise RB N.D. (ton of up side, replaces Morris, has good 2016))
    6-12 Rashard Robinson CB LSU (gamble due to off field concerns, but big talent, could start slot in 2016)
    7-11 Yannick Ngakove OLB Maryland (Special teams, back up at best but will not quit working)
    7-21 Isaac Seamalo OG/C Oregon St (try at center, can back up all 5 OL positions, practice squad for a year)
    Feel free to take your shots guys, but I like this draft.

    • bangkokben - Mar 2, 2016 at 2:51 PM

      Why is Carolina trading up?

      • renhoekk2 - Mar 2, 2016 at 3:23 PM

        Because there were more players he liked in the draft that he wanted, than the Redskins have picks. Fans do it all of the time. There are 9 or 10 players they would like the team to draft so they create scenarios where the team can get them. Nothing wrong with it. Makes draft season fun.

        • bangkokben - Mar 2, 2016 at 4:35 PM

          That is what I thought. So another way of ME looking at it is: Instead of filling in the winning PowerBall ticket one’s self, one is expecting his dog to not only pick the right numbers but fill in the right bubbles and hand it to Apu at the Quickie Mart with the right amount of cash.

          Super fun.

        • kenlinkins - Mar 3, 2016 at 12:31 PM

          Not true, in my draft simulation the RB from Ohio State was still in play. Carolina took the RB (Elliott) who many have as a top ten talent. The only thing I saw wrong was that Carolina offered a 2nd and 3rd round to swap first round picks and the draft value chart was in favor to the Redskins by about 120 points, but there were 5 offers to trade the pick so I figured Carolina bid high in order to win a player they might consider is required to win the Super Bowl next year seeing how Stewart (who was also a first round pick by Carolina in 2008) only gained 29 yards in 12 carries and under 1,000 yards for the year. But who am I to use facts and a NFL Draft computer program to research my post in order to blow away your remarks about creating scenarios!

    • Wore20 - Mar 2, 2016 at 10:28 PM

      CJ procise will never make it to the 5th round. He is and 2nd or 3rd pick. Also Sheldon Rankins and Kevin Dodd will not fall to the 2nd round. Both will be in the 1st round.
      Trying to pick the draft is difficult but great try.

      • kenlinkins - Mar 3, 2016 at 12:57 PM

        I agree, after the combine CJ Procise should shot up the draft board to above the 5th round but both Sheldon and Rankins could last as IMO the sweet spot is the early 2nd round to the late 4th round with many guys grading out very very close and each GM may have these guys a hair under what you and I see. Beside, they were on the board in the draft simulation so I took them. But your point is well taken.

  3. troylok - Mar 2, 2016 at 2:32 PM

    Just say no, no matter how much he falls.

  4. renhoekk2 - Mar 2, 2016 at 3:19 PM

    He’s not going to become a better football player just because you drafted him later in the draft. Players are what they are, which round they get drafted in doesn’t make them better players.

  5. robert herrera - Mar 2, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    I still believe in taking Kenny Clarke from UCLA. Also a solid safety in the second round. Redskins be wise in your draft picks.

  6. Lex - Mar 2, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    I hope so hed be worth the risk

  7. dieselanddarrell - Mar 2, 2016 at 5:43 PM

    I say no. I saw this guy take a whole game off. He got manhandled by Memphis, and that is not supposed to happen to a top prospect from the SEC. How about the Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, if he drops down to 3rd round or late 2nd? I think he could be a great NFL QB in a few years.

    • bangkokben - Mar 2, 2016 at 5:55 PM

      Best Player Available and In Scot We Trust. Those are my draft mantras.

      Having said that, I will lose my lunch if we use our 2nd pick on a back-up QB to groom in a few years. This team has way too many holes – especially on defense – and (as if people are just realizing) can’t fill them all in free agency to use a high pick on a back-up QB..

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 2, 2016 at 6:00 PM

      You’re right that we need a QB project, but Lynch isn’t one.

      He, Wentz, and Goff are all 1st rounders. Possibly Lynch slips to the 2nd round, but 1) I doubt it, and 2) he sure isn’t getting to pick 53.

  8. John - Mar 2, 2016 at 7:18 PM

    Talent yes and possible upside but not someone the Shins should draft. Sounds a lot like a certain free agent who came here then did not want to play nose and failed at the shuttle run.

    Take the best player available and keep building. Groom a young backup QB. None of the guys coming out this year are expected to start. Three worth considering are the kids at Penn State, Stanford and USC.

  9. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 2, 2016 at 8:35 PM

    Ravens extend QB Joe Flacco (3 years, $66.4M; $40M guaranteed)

    Kirk’s potential long-term deal keeps getting better. These are the rules the NFL made, these are the results.

    • goback2rfk - Mar 2, 2016 at 10:19 PM

      Kirk does not need a long term deal as far as i am concerned. He can play on the franchise tag this year and he can play on the franchise tag next year if need be. I think he wants too much. He is not worth 4 years 85 million. He needs a Kapernick type of deal. A deal the team can run from.

  10. alabama9282 - Mar 2, 2016 at 9:03 PM

    I would pick Robert in the second and put leaders of the team on him from the day he hit camp and ride him relentlessly. This kid has been the most physically gifted football player on every team he has been on since prolly 10th grade no.1 High School player in the country went to Ole Miss and played against weak Olinemen at practice. The kid needs a big huge dose of HUMILITY we can change our attitudes we cannot make kids with Roberts abilty could be All Pro one day.

    • berniebernard666 - Mar 3, 2016 at 10:26 AM

      he could drop to the 7th round and Scott M would not handle him with lead lined gloves…….apparently you don’t listen to Scott M when he talks…..

    • berniebernard666 - Mar 3, 2016 at 10:28 AM

      FYI…….the word is PROBABLY….not PROLLY. I learned that in school. Archives

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