When the Arizona Cardinals took Robert Nkemdiche with the 29th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, a smile crept over many Cardinals fans faces.
While there may have been some disagreement pre-draft about his "fit" within the culture of the Arizona Cardinals, one thing was always evident, his on field ability would be a factor for an already special team.
What Nkemdiche brings is an ability to create disruption from the interior of the defense, something the Arizona Cardinals have had before, but not quite to this level since Darnell Dockett's Pro Bowl season of 2007. While he never quite matched that production again, he was still able to create internal disruption along the offensive line.
Nothing is more effective than interior pressure, because it does not allow the quarterback to step up in the pocket, thus allowing the edge defenders a shorter route to the quarterback.
What Nkemdiche can do early on, I expect a 50-60% snap participation in year one for Nkemdiche, is rush the passer from the interior.
What you see here is the ability of Nkemdiche to collapse the pocket, to make the edge's job easier at getting to the quarterback. While we rave about the "pressures" of Markus Golden last year, we all salivate at the fact that Chandler Jones finished those plays. Well, with Nkemdiche pushing the pocket, we may see more from both the outside linebackers. The other thing with Nkemdiche is, he has some moves already, which means as the year goes on, he should be able to blend that first step explosiveness with a good array of pass rushing moves.
Year one of Robert Nkemdiche should be an exciting one for the Arizona Cardinals and their fans, even if Nkemdiche isn't finishing the play, he'll put others in a position to finish them.