You can be certain more than one NFL club has character concerns about Robert Nkemdiche, but one -- the Detroit Lions -- has now acknowledged those concerns publicly. Lions general manager Bob Quinn said on Thursday that the former Ole Miss defensive tackle is a red-flag player on the team's draft board.
"If they have a red flag -- and that's not what we use on our draft card, that's just a generic term that we spoke about, I think it was at the combine," Quinn said, per the Detroit Free Press. "That's just things that we have to consider the value of the player compared to the risk involved in taking him. So it's not like these guys are off the board. You just got to manage the risk and the reward of taking a guy like that."
All things considered, that's not the worst news for Nkemdiche, because he at least remains on the board as a potential Lions pick. That's not the case for some prospects, as Quinn said that there are "there will be a fair number of guys that we will not consider for character concerns and off-the-field reasons."
Nkemdiche is considered the draft's biggest boom-or-bust prospect by NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks, due not only to on-field inconsistency but because of character concerns as well. He fell out of an Atlanta hotel window in December in an incident that resulted in his hospitalization, his suspension for the Rebels' Sugar Bowl appearance, and eventually, charges for marijuana possession after police found the drug in Nkemdiche's hotel room. He said the marijuana did not belong to him when he addressed the incident at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
Nkemdiche is one of the top defensive-line talents in the draft, and showed impressive athleticism at the combine (4.87-second 40-yard dash at 294 pounds) and at Ole Miss' pro day last month, as well. But in a draft loaded with talent at his position, he could slide due to concerns about his character.