After a year out of football, former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche is getting a new chance with the Seattle Seahawks.
The former Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins defensive tackle signed with Seattle in April. Nkemdiche has appeared in just 29 total games in his four seasons in the league before not playing anywhere last year. He was released by the Dolphins in early November 2019 and was suspended for two weeks shortly after his release.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that they’ve been happy with what they’ve seen from Nkemdiche throughout the offseason so far.
“He’s got a really good spirit about him,” Carroll said. “He’s upbeat, active, he’s explosive and has really good quickness. He’s over 300 pounds and he moves really well. He’s going to be a real competitive part of this group.”
Nkemdiche’s best season came with Arizona in 2018 when he had 32 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 10 games played that season. A knee injury ended his season and Arizona eventually released him with a failed physical designation. He appeared in just five games as a rookie, 12 games in year two and 10 games in year three. He played in just two games during his time with Miami.
Nkemdiche was the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft but hasn’t managed to live up to that billing during his four seasons in the league.
Nevertheless, Carroll thinks Nkemdiche’s talents could blossom with Seattle.
“He’s a little different than some of the other guys and so we see some flexibility in where we can play him and move him around,” Carroll said. “I’m hoping for his sake, because he’d been out of football for a bit, I’m hoping for his sake that everything just keeps moving along because he is applying himself. His mentality is like he has a second chance on his football life and he knows that, which is really important. He’s trying to seize every opportunity and he’s been a real, a real, not a surprise as much as just, we’re really happy to have him as part of this thing. We think he’s going to be a factor.”
The split with Jarran Reed after the season could present a role for Nkemdiche to fill along Seattle’s defensive line if he’s able to stay healthy and show he’s still got something to offer during training camp.