One player who some draft prognosticators have in their mock drafts to the Raiders at pick 14 has been Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche. He is scheduled to pay the Raiders a visit, along with 13 other teams, according to Tony Pauline of Walter Football.
In many respects Nkemdiche is a Mario Edwards clone coming out of the SEC. He has the physical tools and is extraordinarily athletic for a 300-pound man. He just doesn't have the production to match it and his work ethic has been called into question. That perfectly described Edwards, who was at one time considered a first round product, but who slipped into the second round, with many at the time thinking he was a reach even at 35 overall. Since then Edwards has brought his weight down and proved as a rookie he was more than worth his second round status. Could Nkemdiche follow the same trajectory?
Thus far all the reported visits the Raiders have had this offseason were players who are projected as late first round/early second round picks, including Florida defensive end Jonathan Bullard who has a similar skillset to Edwards and Nkemdiche. Often times the Raiders' top picks will say they didn't visit the team's facility. Mainly because the Raiders don't have doubts about the player that would have them needing a closer look.
Jack Del Rio hinted recently that a player like Nkemdiche is not ideal for their first round pick plans.
"It's easier for all of us when the talent is obvious, when the production is there, when the all the character issues are answered, that makes for a clean pick," Del Rio said at the scouting combine. "That makes for more of a consensus selection. If you don't have some of those things, some of those things have to be answered and each team will go through and have to decide what's right for them and find a spot for them on the board."
Visits have alleviated concerns by Reggie McKenzie before, as he uses his 'gut' to judge players' character. While selecting Nkemdiche at pick 14 may be a reach, best to do their homework to get an idea of where on their board he should be.