It’s too early to say Robert Nkemdiche has turned the corner in his career, but he’s heading in the right direction.
After a pair of disappointing years out of the gate, the former first-round pick has stacked three solid performances together to open 2018. Nkemdiche has registered a couple splash plays, including Sunday’s strip-sack of Mitchell Trubisky.
On the season, Nkemdiche has 10 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss and a forced fumble. More importantly, he’s getting to the quarterback at a solid rate.
According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Nkemdiche is tied for the fifth-highest pressure percentage in the league among defensive linemen with at least 50 pass-rush snaps. He has pressured the quarterback on eight of his 78 pass-rushes, a rate of 10.3 percent.
Nkemdiche has the same pressure rate of Saints Pro Bowl rusher Cameron Jordan, and is trailing only Houston’s J.J. Watt, Kansas City’s Dee Ford, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett and San Diego’s Melvin Ingram. (Cardinals defensive end Benson Mayowa is tied for ninth in the NFL with a pressure rate of 8.8 percent.)
It’s only three games, and Nkemdiche will need to keep proving himself moving forward, but it’s an encouraging start.