Former Ole Miss Rebels defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was once considered a top-five draft pick, but he's had to battle to rebuild his stock ahead of the draft.
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Latest on Nkemdiche's Draft Position
Monday, April 25
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report reported he had been told "to find a place for [Nkemdiche]" in the first round, "maybe even top 20," adding some teams are "very comfortable with him."
On March 18, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported Nkemdiche's draft stock had slid of late:
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On Feb. 28, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported that while scouts were impressed with Nkemdiche's athleticism during the NFL Scouting Combine, off-field concerns and consistency could result in a drop for him in the draft.
"That's a guy that I could see having a little bit of a plummet," one evaluator said, per Robinson. "He's not in a weak class [at defensive tackle], and there is a lot of [off-field] stuff there to get through. … He may not end up being a first-round pick."
Nkemdiche Continues with Visits
Thursday, March 31
ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold reported on March 31 that the Denver Broncos plan to host Nkemdiche.
Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reported March 28 that Nkemdiche had met with the Dallas Cowboys the night before, noting that the defensive tackle has 14 visits arranged, including meetings with the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.
Nkemdiche's Elite Talent Comes with Risk
Nkemdiche was the No. 1 recruit in the nation in 2013 when he committed to Ole Miss, per 247Sports' composite rankings. In his three years, he recorded six sacks. However, the star defensive tackle was suspended for the Rebels' final game—the Sugar Bowl—after being charged with possession of marijuana and falling out of a hotel window in Atlanta.
Nkemdiche told Robinson teams believe him when he recalls that night in Atlanta that prevented him from playing in his final college game.
"They believe me," he said, per Robinson. "It's the truth and it's what I'm going to keep moving forward with. I'm going to stick to my story. That's what it is. I'm going to keep moving forward, keep being in the moment and get ready to show out on Sunday."
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com currently has Nkemdiche slated to go 19th overall to the Buffalo Bills. He's still one of the more athletic linemen in this draft class, and he can be one of the steals of the draft if his off-field issues are cleared and he commits to being consistent.