Quenton Nelson was a highly recruited offensive lineman coming out of high school. He fielded offers from several top programs in the country, including Ohio State, Alabama and Oklahoma. Nelson committed to Notre Dame, staying through his senior year. Nelson showed his capabilities from the first time he saw the field. He helped Notre Dame average 5.63 yards per carry in 2015, good for eighth-best in the FBS. He also played a part in helping Notre Dame have over 15 games with a rusher gaining over 100 yards through his career.
Nelson is coming into the league at a good time, having cemented his reputation as one of the top guards in the draft. At 6’5 330 lbs, he possesses great size and the power to match it. He is very capable of picking up defenders in the gap and pulling them for his running backs. Nelson has sound technique and is capable of making defenders look foolish off the line.
At Notre Dame, Nelson was also fantastic at pass protection, having almost never given up a sack, frequently stopping defenders before they could even get pressure on the QB. The length that Nelson has helps him contain defenders and his athleticism allows him to adjust to any second move a defender attempts to get free. When Nelson is able to switch over to helping his tackle, the matchup becomes next to impossible to get through.
Nelson has very few weaknesses in his game, something that is evidenced by his ascendance up the draft boards. While he is capable of making some great plays on the line, he has occasionally lost his man while dropping his head to contact. At times, Nelson also doesn’t put in the effort to get through to the linebackers and will need to push himself to maintain the pace necessary to be an all-pro starter. However, with the right coaching, all of these things are very easy to overcome.
Nelson has all the capabilities to be a high-level player in the NFL. He faced plenty of high-level talent at the college level and it only showed him to be elite at his position. He has drawn a few praiseworthy player comparisons, including Nick Martin, Logan Mankins and Hall of Famer, Larry Allen. Any team that ends up with him will have a player capable of not only protecting the QB from his position but also setting up his running backs for success. He has a great attitude and the loves to lead and has an aggressiveness that will only help him at the next level.