Seahawks sign former 1st-round defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche

Apr 29, 2021, 12:28 PM
Seahawks DT Robert Nkemdiche...
New Seahawks DT Robert Nkemdiche has 4.5 career sacks. (Getty)

The Seahawks almost certainly won’t be making any picks on Thursday in the first round of the NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be making moves. That was evident as the team announced that former first-round defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche signed a one-year deal to come to Seattle.

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Nkemdiche, 26, was the first-round pick of the Seahawks’ division rival Arizona Cardinals in the 2016 NFL Draft, who selected the defensive tackle with the 29th overall pick that year.

Nkemdiche played collegiately at Ole Miss after a standout high school career, where he was not only the No. 1 defensive lineman in his class, but he was the consensus No. 1 prospect in the country.

In three years at Ole Miss, Nkemdiche tallied six sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 29 career games. He was a First-Team All-SEC selection and Second-Team All-American in his final college season in 2015, in which he recorded career-highs in sacks (three) and tackles for loss (seven) before declaring for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Nkemdiche has yet to live up to his billing as a first-round pick. In three years with the Cardinals, he played in just 27 games (six starts) and all of his 4.5 career sacks came in the 2018 season. He also has just 10 career tackles for loss, with all but one coming in 2018. He suffered a knee injury that required season-ending surgery in 2018 as well.

Ahead of the 2019 season, the Cardinals declined Nkemdiche’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal and later waived him with a failed injury designation ahead of his fourth NFL season. He later signed with the Dolphins on a one-year deal for 2019 and played in just two games. He also was suspended for two weeks that year and didn’t play at all in 2020.

Nkemdiche stands 6 foot 4 and weighs roughly 315 pounds. At the 2016 NFL Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.87 seconds, but he also weighed closer to 290 pounds at the time.

Defensive tackle was seen as an area of need for the Seahawks as they had only three on the roster ahead of the Nkemdiche signing: Poona Ford, Bryan Mone and Al Woods.

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