Former Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, their 2016 first-round pick, has not been with an NFL team since he was released by the Miami Dolphins in November. He appeared in only two games in 2019.
He is hoping to make a comeback to the NFL and might get the opportunity because of the number of players opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19. In particular, defensive linemen have been a group of players who are opting out.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Nkemdiche has been in contact with NFL teams and is apparently back in shape.
With all the DLs opting out, former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche has been talking to teams. Would have to be a low-risk deal but Nkemdiche is telling teams he’s focused and healthy. Down to 315 pounds after getting as high as 345. pic.twitter.com/Apx7vPBWq3
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 1, 2020
Entering 2019, he was coming off a torn ACL suffered at the end of 2018. He showed up to training camp with the Cardinals overweight and out of shape, at more than 340 pounds. He was cut by the Cardinals early in camp and picked up by the Dolphins, spending most of the season on PUP. he was activated and appeared in two games but did not register even a single tackle.
Nkemdiche is immensely talented physically but has dealt with on-field discipline and nagging injuries.
In four seasons since being drafted, he has played in only 29 games, starting six times, and collected 44 tackle, 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 10 QB hits, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery he returned for a touchdown.
If he is given an opportunity and takes things seriously, he will have a chance to be a very good player. It most likely will not come with the Cardinals, who have not as of yet had any players opt out of the season.