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Cardinals rookie leaning on veteran for assistance

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Nkemdiche is learning from Calais Campbell in order to fulfill his potential.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe nothing in sports is harder than coming in as a rookie and learning how to be a professional athlete.  Sure the game is a little harder, but it is the same game you have been playing since you were a child, but now, now you have millions of dollars and millions of eyes on you at all times.

Maybe it is not that different for Robert Nkemdiche than it was in his time with the OIe Miss Rebels, except maybe the money part... maybe, but he has been in the spotlight for the last three years.  It cost him on draft day, as Nkemdiche is scheduled to make a little over $1.5 million in 2016, which would have been over $3 million if he was a top five pick as projected before the season started.

Yet, most people tend to agree that the Arizona Cardinals and Robert Nkemdiche both got the best possible deal in landing together, and it seems as though Nkemdiche is taking advantage of that opportunity.

As Cameron Cox of 12 News in Arizona found out, Robert Nkemdiche has been building a relationship with Calais Campbell, the two time Pro Bowler and veteran defensive lineman of the Arizona Cardinals.

That's my guy. Great role model, I guess we see similarities within each other.  He's had a successful career and he sees something in me that's special.

There could be no better influence for Nkemdiche than Campbell, who heard whispers himself questioning his play when he was drafted in the second round out of Miami in 2008.  Many wondered if Campbell could put the talent altogether, but much like Nkemdiche, Campbell fell to the right team, where a group of veteran players were able to grab hold and help him.  It turned Campbell into one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL.

While expecting Nkemdiche to have the same type of career arc is unfair, the teacher he has knows talent and how to cultivate it, and he also knows how to help create a real professional.