Arizona Cardinals: Robert Nkemdiche in jeopardy of missing Week 1?

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche /

Robert Nkemdiche was having a great offseason for the Arizona Cardinals before an injury put him out of practice. Is he in jeopardy of missing Week 1?

Things didn’t get off to the start Robert Nkemdiche envisioned when he left Ole Miss. Touted as one of the best players in the 2016 NFL Draft class, Nkemdiche saw his draft stock fall all the way to the end of the first round.

It wasn’t until the 29th overall pick that Nkemdiche found a home all thanks to general manager Steve Keim. The Arizona Cardinals, known for not being scared on taking chances on players with troubled pasts, weren’t concerned with the him jumping out of a hotel window to evade police with marijuana on the premises. They just cared about Nkemdiche, the football player.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get one last year. Nkemdiche struggled to grasp onto life in the NFL, maybe because of the bad character label that was put on him after the December incident. Or maybe it just didn’t click with him throughout his rookie season.

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Regardless, all of the negativity that occurred during his rookie season was put in the past as he prepped for his second season in the NFL. He became both a better player and matured as a man throughout the offseason and his performance throughout training camp and the first three games of the preseason proved it. In each outing, Nkemdiche was a force in run game looking much like the All-American he was at Ole Miss.

Nkemdiche wasn’t on pace to start and understandably so; after he only played 82 snaps last season, it’s veteran Frostee Rucker that still sits atop the depth chart. But that doesn’t mean Nkemdiche isn’t planning to be a big part of defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense in 2017.

Unfortunately, it may be put on hold to start the 2017 NFL season. Nkemdiche will be sidelined for 2-3 weeks due to a calf injury, reported first by Mike Jurecki from the Arizona Sports Station. The injury is said to be a left strained calf muscle putting the rest of the preseason in doubt and the season opener against the Detroit Lions on hold.

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Nkemdiche can still get back in time for the opener. If he doesn’t, Arizona will survive. While he’s proven to be a key piece to the defense this season it won’t break the Cardinals defense with the likes of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick running the ball for Detroit.