It looks as though Bruce Arians may have found the perfect remedy to his pass rushing quandary.
The Arizona Cardinals head coach has been vocal over the importance of securing a pass rusher in this year’s draft, and that wish was granted when the Glendale outfit drafted Robert Nkemdiche out Mississippi in the latter stages of the first round.
The defensive end joins a defensive unit down in the desert which isn’t short of big name players such as Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Calais Campbell.
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And it seems as if Nkemdiche hasn’t been shy in his very first training sessions with the Cardinals either.
Speaking to Azcentral.com, Arians declared just how physical Nkemdiche has been since signing on to the team and becoming a millionaire:
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“He was killing people in walk through. I had to slow him down, and he bench-pressed a lineman already.”
As far as problems go- it’s not the worst you could ask for.
Arizona has seen their pass rushing unit waver over the years. The Cards finished 20th in regular season sacks last year, having got to the quarterback 36 times.
Their reliance on veteran Dwight Freeney had a lot to do with that. The former Colt reached the quarterback eight times last year for the Cards. Although on limited plays, Freeney's influence provided balance on the defensive line, freeing up Calais Campbell who spent most of 2015 fighting two men rather than one.
However, Dwight is 35-years-old and whilst his impact on the blitz is still very much there, his days may well be numbered.
Nkemdiche turned a few heads and raised eyebrows whilst in college, and could prove to be the perfect surrogate to the seven-time pro bowler.
The former Ole Miss Rebels defensive end was named First Team All-SEC in 2015, leading the conference in tackles. Nkemdiche was also part of an Ole Miss defensive squad that led the country in scoring defence.
But with acclaim on the field comes pressure off it, and the rookie has had his fair share of controversies.
In December of 2015, Nkemdiche was involved in an incident which saw the youngster break a window and fall 15 feet out of a building. Police later arrested Nkemdiche having found seven marijuana cigarettes in his room.
Although his problems off the field have led many to believe he can’t be trusted - he is joining a team that has done more than it's fair share of rehabilitating.
Tyrann Mathieu’s turbulent college life deterred countless scouts when he entered the 2013 NFL Combine.
Bruce Arians took a chance on him, and Tyrann never looked back.
The Honey Badger has since turned his career around and has proven to be a big time player for the ‘Bird Gang’.
Robert's move to Arizona will have its doubters, but there’s is no question just how talented of a player Bruce and the Cardinals have acquired.
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