On the field, Robert Nkemdiche did just fine at the NFL Combine. There were 17 defensive linemen that ran faster than his 4.87 40, but every one of them weighed in at least 15 pounds lighter (and most were between 30 to 40 pounds lighter) than his 296. Among D-line prospects of at least 280 pounds, Nkemdiche was in a three-way tie for first in the 40, a two-way tie for first in the vertical jump and sixth in the broad jump.
Off the field, however, Nkemdiche didn't do himself any favors. Pushing blame for his drug arrest onto an unspecified group of "others" who were in his hotel room the night of his Atlanta fall is one thing (for all we know, that's the truth), but to name drop Laremy Tunsil in damn near the same breath isn't a good look, nor is his admission that he was "lazy" in finishing plays in college.
"That's a guy that I could see having a little bit of a plummet," an unnamed NFL evaluator told Yahoo Sports. "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."
Things apparently didn't go much better during Big Rob's private team interviews, which were "unimpressive", according to the sources of Bleacher Report's Jason Cole.
"One assistant coach I talked to said, ‘Look, Ndkemdiche is a different dude. He's a very different kind of guy, the kind of guy that you want to be careful with and really just doesn't get what it takes to be a pro.'"
Does that mean Nkemdiche falls out of the first round? Unlikely. The guy is just too damn physically impressive to drop that far.
Someone is gonna convince themselves they can fix Robert Nkemdiche.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 28, 2016
A lot of mocks still have Nkemdiche going to the Bills at No. 19, which I see as a realistic possibility. Hell, Rex Ryan signed IK Enemkpali because he punched Geno Smith in the face, so falling from a fourth-floor window is nothing.
Laremy Tunsil is still the likely No. 1, no thanks to Nkemdiche
Nkemdiche's loose lips might have caused Tunsil a headache, but it shouldn't pose any real threat to his chance to be the No. 1 pick.
"It might in the eyes of some teams," Sports Illustrated senior writer Don Banks said when asked whether it could hurt Tunsil's stock. "But I really think it's going to hurt Nkemdiche much more... Tunsil, to me, is not going to take a big hit for this."
Neither should Tunsil's decision to skip the 40-yard dash, bench press and other measurable drills in Indy have an adverse effect. He showed his absurd athleticism in the rest of the drills and the pro scouts will eventually get their coveted measurables when Tunsil takes part in Ole Miss' March pro day.
The only real threat to Tunsil's spot atop the draft might be a trade. It's possible the Titans end up trading down to grab a guy like Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley, filling their need at tackle while stockpiling more picks. Were that to happen, Tunsil's fate would lie in the team needs of whatever club trades into the top spot. No matter what, he still looks like a lock for a top-three pick.
It's all about the 40 for Laquon Treadwell
Treadwell had a fine Saturday morning catching passes from Dak Prescott and Paxton Lynch while rocking a backwards cap, but his decision not to run the 40-yard dash means scouts are left with their biggest question unanswered. And while that decision means the "is Treadwell just a possession receiver?" conversation will continue for a few extra weeks, it by no means hurts his draft stock. He's going to run at the March 28 pro day, so NFL teams will have their answer soon enough. In the meantime, he's still a heavy favorite among mock drafters to land with the Rams at No. 15.
"I figured if I have enough time to work on [the 40], I'll get the time I want," Laquon said during his presser. "I'll run what I run and just stay confident in myself."
Sounds like a good enough plan to me.