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Report: Former 1st-Round Pick Robert Nkemdiche Signs Contract with Dolphins

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2019

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche #90 of the Arizona Cardinals on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyboys defeated the Cardinals 28-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins reportedly took a flier on a 2016 first-round pick Thursday and signed defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche to a one-year contract, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

This comes after the Arizona Cardinals announced they released the Ole Miss product on July 27.  

"Not in shape, I guess," Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Nkemdiche the day before the team released him, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. "And that's kind of where we'll leave it. I mean, he's on PUP and he's working through that. When he is cleared, we'll work with him."

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com noted Arizona's "frustration" with the defensive tackle was "coming to a head" as it decided to release him.

Nkemdiche tore his ACL in December 2018 and played just five games as a rookie in 2016, 12 games in 2017 and 10 games in 2018.

He appeared to turn a corner on the field during the 2018 campaign when he posted a career-high 4.5 sacks, but he didn't impress in training camp after an offseason that included a notable off-field headline.

Clayton Klapper of ABC 15 reported Nkemdiche was arrested for speeding and driving on a suspended license in June.

"The report also states that police found a white powdery substance, consistent with cocaine, in a small credit card case in his center console," Klapper wrote. "However, police say the substance was not tested, and instead was impounded for destruction, with Nkemdiche's consent."

The Cardinals also declined the fifth-year option on his contract in May, which further underscored their lack of belief in their 2016 first-round pick.

Nkemdiche showed enough at Ole Miss to convince Arizona to use such draft capital on him, and he is still just 24 years old.

Ideally for Miami, he will benefit from the move and resemble the player who started to make an impact on the field in 2018 rather than the one who Kingsbury described as out of shape after the offseason.

Nkemdiche is still in the middle of his theoretical prime and figures to slide into the defensive line rotation alongside Charles Harris and Tank Carradine when he is healthy and able to contribute.