DT #5 Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi*

6’4” – 296 lbs. – 4.70e

Started six games at end and four games at tackle as a freshman; became a full-time tackle as a sophomore and has been starting there ever since. Usually plays defensive tackle for the Rebels, but will slide outside to end on occasion, especially when the team moves to a three-man line. Has also taken a few snaps as a goal-line fullback. Tall with long limbs and a solid, muscular build; looks more like a defensive end than a tackle at this point because of how well he carries his weight. Functional strength is already in line with the demands of the pro game; holds up better than his size would indicate, with the ability to generate push and reestablish the line of scrimmage. At his best, can drive back guards like he’s working against a blocking sled. Anchors fairly well, especially considering his lack of ideal bulk; can occupy multiple blockers and create a mess on the interior, forcing plays outside or creating congestion to run through. While he displays the arm extension and hand use to stack and shed blockers, he is at his best when knifing into the backfield as a one-gap penetrator and does a lot of work on stunts. Aggressive, violent player who is a handful to control on a snap-to-snap basis. Very explosive off the line; not always the first player off the line but can blow past offensive linemen and disrupt things in the backfield. Closes quickly on opposing quarterbacks. Explosiveness carries over into the rest of his game; works a tight, violent spin move into his pass-rushing repertoire. Also exhibits effective swim and rip moves, although at this point he has rarely been forced to rely on many moves due to his considerable advantages in strength and athleticism. Generally has a good motor, but effort wanes with distance. Awareness is somewhat lacking; often fooled by misdirection or loses track of the ballcarrier, directing his considerable athletic ability toward the wrong purpose. Needs to do a better job of protecting his legs; is susceptible to being neutralized by cut blocks. A long, muscular, powerful defensive lineman with plenty of explosiveness and violence to his game, Nkemdiche is one of the most freakish defensive line prospects to come along in recent years and could potentially fit as a defensive end in either type of defensive front, or as a defensive tackle in an even front; with only minor flaws, he looks like a near-lock to go in the top five or ten picks despite lacking the production typical of a premier prospect. May be best as a five-technique end.

Games watched: Alabama (’15), Florida (’15), Fresno St. (’15)

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