Will Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson buck the trend of players at his position being taken highly in the first round? That’s still to be determined.
What isn’t up for debate? Nelson has a strong case as any guard in this decade to go in the top 15.
We wrote previously about the Notre Dame Captain who is 6’5 330lbs and has a “nasty streak” to go along with his impressive play. And, that Nelson might be a good fit for the Bucs at #7 overall, and maybe for the Dolphins at #11.
Well, the accolades and momentum continue to stack up.
First, Nelson was impressive at the NFL Scouting Combine in February:
And, many teams came away impressed with his interview sessions.
One NFL personnel source tells F.F.I. that Nelson convinced numerous teams even more, that he should go in the first round, once they got to be around and talk to him in Indianapolis.
Next, you see something like this analytical look at his pass protection last year with the Fighting Irish, and you cannot help but be impressed:
Quenton Nelson DOMINATED in 2017 pic.twitter.com/uXZtBrVpVW
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 8, 2018
Now, look, we get that an offensive guard giving up sacks in pass protection is much more rare than a tackle on the end of the line. However, one sack allowed in 430 passing snaps? That’s a ridiculously good stat.
And then, late last week, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly appeared on the NFL Network’s “NFL Up to the Minute” program to talk more about Nelson and his fellow line teammate Mike McGlinchy having played for him and their professional futures:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 7, 2018
We particularly like hearing from Kelly, “We knew what his (Nelson’s) intent was..to be the best on every single play. And, to bring out the best in the players around him.”
Kelly’s endorsement will also have an impact on how high that Nelson will be considered on night one of the draft.
If you are curious about how unusual it is for a guard to go high in the first round? Then, consider only one player, Leonard Davis in 2001, has been picked in the top five since 2000. And, only eight total have been taken in the first round since 2010.
Still, all signs are pointing to Quenton Nelson to go on night one, and with the Buccaneers and Dolphins in need of some guard help/depth, he may be one of their targets.
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