2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Anthony Nelson
Position: Defensive End
Weight: 270 pounds
Round Projection: 3-4
Usually lined up on the left side, Nelson faces the road grating right tackles. With that said, he will rely on his bull rush. For a taller rusher like Nelson, the bull rush can be robotic and stiff. However, Nelson uses outstanding pad level and quad drive to stand tackles up. Under those circumstances, he forces the right side of the line to collapse, forcing the passer to make a hurried decision. Meanwhile, Nelson’s swim continues to improve. Due to his height and reach advantages, the swim needs to be more of a go-to move for Nelson.
Like most power defensive ends, Nelson embraces stopping the run. While he shows the ability to string out perimeter plays, Nelson thrives on the inside run. Armed with a quick inside jab step, Nelson can surprisingly narrow in the B gap to thwart the run. In addition, the power from the bull rush translates to this area. For example, Nelson can engage a tackle, use an off arm to shed and loop over to make the play. Not to mention, Nelson will pursue plays from the backside as well.
Although not blessed with lightning feet, Nelson uses his adequate speed that looks faster on film. For example, if the play flows away from him, he will still track the runner down. With Nelson, his speed may appear average, but the nonstop movement makes him appear much faster. In that case, any questions about explosion become moot.
Without a doubt, power plays a huge role in Nelson’s approach. With heavy hand and a strong core, he bullies tight ends that try to chip, or disregards tackles that patty cake. From the snap, Nelson uses a combination of leverage and pure power to win.
If you look at the Raiders and Paul Guenther in terms of the Bengals, a few similarities exist. First, Guenther’s system prefers taller, angular ends. In Cincinnati, Guenther coached Dunlap and Johnson to great success. As a result, the Raiders may prefer longer ends. With Nelson, Oakland could boast a two-down end with an emerging pass rush repertoire. In addition, Nelson never stops moving, In that case, the play never really ends for him. In reality, the Raiders will draft a top-flight pass rusher early. However, if Day 3 rolls around and Nelson is there, investing a pick in a player with his attributes looks smart.