Robert Nkemdiche was a candidate to go #1 overall at the start of last season and was a sure fire top-ten pick. Even after the season, Nkemdiche looked to be bound for a high pick in the draft, but a postseason marijuana charge has scared a lot of teams. We saw last season how these kind of behavioral issues can see a player tumble down the draft board. Randy Gregory saw his draft stock plummet from a first round pick all the way to a late second round pick because of issues with marijuana and poor team interviews. Nkemdiche is currently projected as a low first-round pick now, but if he can somehow show a team or a few teams that this will not happen again, then there could be someone willing to take a chance on a talent like Nkemdiche.
There is no secret that the Falcons will be searching for pass rushing with their number #17 overall pick, and there might not be a better option from a pure talent standpoint. Nkemdiche was the highly recruited #1 overall player coming out of high school. He was a physical freak with an unbelievable ability to use his size and speed to attack ball carries and quarterbacks. He even racked up over 700 rushing yards in his senior year of high school. However, his time at Ole Miss was not as glamorous as it was supposed to be. Even though he showed the ability to get past would-be pass blockers, he only recorded 6.0 sacks and 17 tackles for loss over three seasons at Mississippi. Despite this lack of production, many believe there is no doubt Nkemdiche can be a force in the NFL, if he can keep his head on straight.
Nkemdiche is the type of talent that has a ridiculously high ceiling. He could be a 5-time pro bowler and double digit sack player, or he could be a complete bust because of his questionable behavior. The decision really is only up to one person and that is Nkemdiche himself. The Falcons have shied away from players with disciplinary issues in the past. Nkemdiche did not impress many through the interview process, but the Falcons might want to take the risk given their well-documented troubles of generating a pass rush.