3 things to know about the Cards' 1st-round pick

Posted at 9:00 PM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 00:04:21-04

The Arizona Cardinals' defense just got better with Thursday night's selection of defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Here are three things you might not know about the 6-foot-3, 294-pounder who's headed to the Valley.

1. He was the No. 1 high school player in the country.

Nkemdiche was a coveted prize coming out of high school in Loganville, Georgia. In fact, he was the nation's No. 1 ranked recruit in the Class of 2013.

Nkemdiche picked Ole Miss over powerhouse football programs such as USC, LSU and defending national champion Alabama. He went on to be an All-SEC first-teamer and second-team All-American in 2015.

2. He's had some off-field issues.

Nkemdiche was suspended from his team's Sugar Bowl appearance last season after being charged with marijuana possession in December. The charge came after he went through his hotel room window and fell onto a ledge, and then to the ground.

But it's fair to say Nkemdiche is contrite about the incident. Afterwards, he texted apologies to family and friends, and his brother said he "still hasn't forgiven himself" for letting his family and team down, according to ESPN.

3. He wants a panther.

Just three months after the Cardinals were destroyed by the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game, the Cards ironically (or fittingly) drafted a man who wants to own a real-live panther.

"They're like cats," Nkemdiche told ESPN before adding, "If something comes over and is scared, I'll put the panther away."