6’5″, 329 Pounds
Hand Size: 10 3/8″
Arm Length: 33 3/4″
Projection: Top 10
(Rank among position in parentheses, N/A = outside of top 15)
40 Yard Dash: Skipped
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.62 (7th)
Three Cone Drill: 7.65 (T-11th)
Broad Jump: 10.5 (N/A)
Vertical Jump: 26.5 (N/A)
Bench Press: 35 (T-2nd)
Nelson is an absolute mauler at the guard position. He routinely makes opposing defensive linemen look like little boys. He is built like a bus, with a very strong base, a great upper body, and fluid hips. Nelson comes off of the snap quickly and makes contact immediately, pushing his defender back easily. When Nelson gets his hands on a player, that player is basically out of the play.
He has good feet and pulls well. He moves very well and uses his quickness and size to keep his defender in front of him. To go along with his strength, his pad height and leverage are great. When he gets beaten, his athleticism allows him to recover well. His hand strength is off of the charts. He punches the defensive lineman from the jump and makes contact first. He loves to impose his will on defenders and often ends up demoralizing players.
His hands occasionally slide out too wide, but his hand strength makes up for it. He is sometimes over aggressive and misses on his block. When pulling, he is not tight to the line, allowing for penetration. His pass blocking ability is inconsistent, and he occasionally struggles against athletic defensive linemen looking to shoot gaps. He doesn’t always get to the second level quickly and is occasionally sluggish in space.
The Colts resigned Jack Mewhort, but he may not be a long-term option. Either way, the Colts need to fill the other guard position. Joe Haeg and Le’Raven Clark can both be solid but are nowhere near where Nelson is now. Nelson would help block interior rushers, but his biggest strength early will be opening up holes for the likes of Marlon Mack to run behind. If the Colts draft Nelson, the running backs will almost undoubtedly have their numbers increase. With the Colts now potentially missing out on Bradley Chubb, Nelson could be the guy at number six.
Nelson is a guard with rare power, hand strength, and balance, that is worthy of a top-five pick. Players such as Zach Martin and Brandon Scherff have made it easy to take guards high, and Nelson may be better than both of them by year two. Any team that drafts Nelson will have increased success in the run game day one, and success in the passing game soon after. I have no doubt that in a few years time, Nelson will be an All-Pro, and maybe the best linemen in the league. Nelson is not perfect, but there is not a safer pick in this class than Quenton Nelson.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.