ESPN’s Kiper predicts Seahawks will draft former No. 1 recruit who fell out a window last December

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SEATTLE – And with the 26th pick of the draft, the Seattle Seahawks will select …

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper released his second mock draft of the year on Thursday, and made an utterly intriguing prediction for the Seahawks: Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.

“If a player like Cody Whitehair is still available at this point, you could see the Seahawks looking to address an immediate need on the offensive line. If not, Nkemdiche is more than a consolation prize if he can stay focused and put major off-field questions to rest. He’s a top-10 talent but could see his stock slip if teams don’t trust him, especially in a draft that is loaded with future impact starters on the defensive line.”

Nkemdiche was at the top of Kiper’s big board as recently as last September, but fell down the board after he fell out of a hotel window in Atlanta in December. When he was listed at No. 1, Kiper wrote:

Now up to 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, he still moves like a guy carrying about 40-50 pounds less. You saw it against Bama, when he was getting into the backfield constantly. Nkemdiche isn’t just quick, though; he also has strength at the point and doesn’t get eaten up by double-teams. If he stays healthy he’ll end up in the top five.

Nkemdiche was No. 5 on Kiper’s board at the time of the fall.

Nkemdiche is known as a physical specimen who, according to nfl.com, “produced low tackle totals and just 6.5 sacks over three years” and  “never forced or recovered a fumble.”

Coming out of high school, he was considered the top recruit in the nation.

NFL.com released its own mock draft on Thursday. Draft analyst Chad Reuter predicted the Seahawks will take another defensive tackle, Sheldon Rankins out of Louisville.

“The Seahawks will be looking for active interior defenders in this draft, and that description fits Rankins’ game to a tee,” he wrote.

Reuters predicted Nkemdiche will fall to the Detroit Lions with the 46th overall pick.

The NFL draft begins April 28.