UPDATE: Due to circumstances behind the scenes, Nkemdiche chose to go a different direction and signed with the CFL’s Edmonton Elks.
As if the DC Defenders didn’t already have a stacked defense, former first round NFL draft pick – DT Robert Nkemdiche – is signing with the team.
BREAKING: The DC Defenders are signing DT Robert Nkemdiche, per source.
The former first round NFL draft pick with Arizona now makes his way to the #UFL, bringing even more depth to an already tremendous defensive line. Von Hutchins & the @XFLDefenders are building a squad. pic.twitter.com/ZJjSaEwauX
Robert has had a unique story so far. After being drafted as a first round pick by the Arizona Cardinals, he spent a few years with the team. Nkemdiche saw quite a bit of production during the 2018 season, finishing with 32 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 10 games played (six starts).
Robert Nkemdiche strikes, gets inside hand placement, snatches his blocker, gets vertical & sacks the QB. Textbook DL play vs play action!
From there, he moved to the Miami Dolphins, before signing with the Seahawks. Robert posted 15 tackles in 2021 with Seattle, in nine active games.
It’s been an up and down journey for Nkemdiche since then. He has had a couple of other NFL opportunities (primarily with the 49ers), but couldn’t stick on a roster.
Then, he signed to the USFL’s Michigan Panthers ahead of the 2023 season. Many were expecting him to make waves in the league that year. However, he was released towards the end of training camp, not seeing the field. This led to a stint with the Jacksonville Sharks in the IFL.
The roster has been updated, and we are without 5 names. Unless Burrell or Jacobs reported the Panthers have 1 roster spot to fill.
OT Ka'John Armstrong RB LD Brown LB Treshaun Hayward CB Eddie Graham DT Robert Nkemdiche
There is no denying Robert’s talents. He was a highly sought-after DT coming out of Ole Miss – registering 98 tackles and seven sacks across his three seasons there.
Now, Robert Nkimdeche is in a position to rejuvenate his professional career in the UFL. The DC Defenders have an outstanding defensive line already, which includes:
Boogie Roberts Davin Bellamy Tim Ward T.J. Barnes Trent Harris
Clearly, Von Hutchins, Gregg Williams, and the entire DC organization are not playing around this year. After a 9-1 run that ended in a Championship loss to Arlington, the Defenders have made some major additions throughout the dispersal draft process.
With their first official signing of UFL free agency, expect plenty more on the way as there are still nine roster spots open. Who knows, we might just see the return of QB Jordan Ta’amu sooner than later.
What are your thoughts on Robert Nkemdiche signing to the DC Defenders? Which UFL free agent should the team pursue? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!