For the third time in four years, the Arizona Cardinals are getting precious little return on their first-round draft investment.
Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, the team's top draft pick in 2016, has been a healthy scratch the past two games after playing just 51 snaps in the first nine weeks of the season.
"Talent, not an issue," coach Bruce Arians explained Wednesday, via the team's official website. "Maturity is. It's just maturing."
Asked if Nkemdiche's situation is similar to that of Humphries a year ago, Arians used the opportunity to send a not-so-veiled message.
That might not seem like an emphatic statement, but consider the nickname Arians hung on Humphries last year: "Knee Deep."
That's how far coaches had to go into Humphries' anatomy to motivate him.
"Nkemdiche is the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in the draft," NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks opined in late March. "If you can figure out what he is and what motivates him, you could uncover a star."
Arians is fond of saying rookies should be ready to take on substantial roles by Thanksgiving. Wednesday's comments are a tacit acknowledgment that Nkemdiche is far behind the typical first-year learning curve.