49ers.com runs down the list of top players in the 2016 NFL Draft. We continue our "Meet the Prospect" series with a fascinating pass-rusher from the SEC, Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche.
Ole Miss could very well have three first-round selections in this year's draft. Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is expected to be a top-10 selection. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is expected to be one of, if not the, first wide receiver drafted in 2016.
Then there's Nkemdiche.
Draft pundits have the physical defensive lineman going anywhere from the top-15 to the second round. On the field, the Rebel defender was a Second-Team All-American (three sacks, seven tackles for loss), but he was later arressted for an off-the-field incident prior to the team's bowl game. Nkemdiche left school early and did his best to answer hard questions about the incident at the Scouting Combine for reporters and NFL decision-makers.
Nkemdiche has the grown-man strength teams covet in first-year defensive prospects. Now the question is which team will pluck him out of the draft pool and throw him into their locker room first?
Arm length: 33 7/8 inches
Hand Size: 10 3/4 inches**
NFL.com Pro Comparison**
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd Best College Game
In the biggest victory of his Ole Miss career, Nkemdiche recorded six tackles (2.5 for loss) and a half sack in a 43-27 road victory over then-No. 2 ranked Alabama, the eventual national champs. Nkemdiche and the Rebels defense forced five turnovers in the upset win.Combine Statistics
40-yard dash: 4.87 seconds
Bench press: 28
Vertical jump: 35.0 inches
Broad jump: 116.0 inches
3 cone drill: N/A
20-yard shuttle: N/A
Mock Draft Connections
B/R's Matt Miller – No. 14 overall pick (Oakland Raiders)
NFL Media's Charley Casserly – No. 19 overall pick (Buffalo Bills)
NFL Media's Charles Davis – No. 26 overall pick (Seattle Seahawks)What the Media is Saying…
"After starting his career outside as a defensive end, Nkemdiche filled out his frame and moved inside to defensive tackle where he is best-suited in the NFL. Although he isn't one of the top-10 football players in this class, Nkemdiche is one of the top-10 talents because of his ability to get upfield in any scheme and penetrate gaps, but teams will view him as a high risk/high reward type of prospect." – CBS Sports' Rob Rang and Dane Brugler
"Exceptional build. Carries no bad weight and has outstanding thickness and power through his rear, thighs and calves. Plus movement skills and runs like a defensive end. Has reactive explosiveness for expanded range as tackler near line of scrimmage. Wrap up finisher who won't allow running backs out of his grasp. Plays with good lateral quickness and can win the race across the face of blockers." – NFL Media's Lance Zierlein
This is how you pronounce the lineman's last name. Broadcasters, fans and teammates will need to have this down soon. Phonetically, it's kimdeeche.
And he wants a pet panther. For seriousness. (H/T to ESPN's Sam Wickersham for this must-read piece on the Ole Miss prospect.)Must-see Video