Defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is one of the most divisive players in the 2016 NFL Draft. He boasts a world of talent all 32 teams would love to add, but off-field concerns have made him an enigma.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Nkemdiche said questions from teams have been "mostly about my character," per NFL.com's Chase Goodbread.
In December, David Ching of ESPN.com reported that the Ole Miss star had fallen out of a hotel room window in Atlanta.
"It appears that the victim broke the window and then walked approximately 15 feet and climbed over a wall and fell approximately 15 feet," police told ESPN, per Ching.
Addressing that situation, per Goodbread, Nkemdiche said, "It was a rash decision by me...it was embarrassing for me." He added that he was drunk when it happened but had not taken any drugs.
Ching's report noted police said they found "a small amount of suspected marijuana inside the (hotel) room." But, per Goodbread, Nkemdiche "indicated" the drugs weren't his.
"Nobody wanted to take the fall, and the hotel room was in my name," he said.
Nkemdiche said his Mississippi teammate and top draft prospect Laremy Tunsil was among the people in the hotel with him when he fell out of the window, per John Glennon of the Tennessean.
"There's regret, but keep moving forward. It's life," Nkemdiche said, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The situation did result in Nkemdiche being charged with marijuana possession and suspended for the Sugar Bowl as Mississippi took on Oklahoma State.
Moving to his performance on the field, per Joe Buscaglia of WKBW in Buffalo, Nkemdiche said there were times he was "lazy on plays" in college, but he is "committed to growing, improving."
Per Buscaglia, a reporter asked Nkemdiche why things will change now:
Why will him being lazy on plays during college improve in the NFL? Nkemdiche: Because I know what's at stake.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) February 26, 2016
There may not be a more difficult player to figure out this draft season than Nkemdiche. ESPN's Scouts Inc. has him ranked No. 17 on its current big board, calling him above-average or exceptional as a run defender and pass-rusher.
However, this draft is loaded on the defensive line with players like Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, A'Shawn Robinson, Sheldon Rankins, Vernon Butler, Shaq Lawson and Andrew Billings among the potential first-round talents.
Nkemdiche has many questions to answer, beyond what he says in an interview room, to prove he belongs in that mix. It's nice to have talent, but teams have to know they can depend on a player on and off the field.
There's no doubt Nkemdiche will hear his name called fairly early in the draft. Whether it's in the first or second round is entirely up to him.