Quenton Nelson was deemed to be the cleanest and least risky prospect in 2018. Are the Indianapolis Colts getting what they paid for?
Big, mean, and hungry. Those are the first three words that come to mind from Quenton Nelson’s tape at Notre Dame. It is also what the Indianapolis Colts got when they snagged the Fighting Irish mauler at pick number six.
Nelson was a force as an interior lineman his whole career. Almost any play you could catch him absolutely manhandling unworthy opponents. This all came from the sheer brute strength that he works with. We saw this on display when he threw up 35 reps for his bench press at the combine.
At times, the most overlooked qualities for offensive lineman is toughness and a sheer drive to put their opponents on their backs. This leads to athletic freaks like Greg Robinson being overvalued. Nelson has the nastiness needed to be a beast in the NFL.
Adding to his potential is massive size most guards don’t possess. Nelson stands at an impressive 6’5″, and tips the scales at 325 pounds.
To wrap Nelson up into a perfect package, he also is incredibly technically sound. Nelson might not be able to outsprint defensive lineman, but his agile feet, and precise hand placement make him deadly. Any defender who gives Nelson the chance to lock his arms inside will lose every time.
There were plays on film in which Nelson stood up opposing defensive lineman on pass plays at the line of scrimmage. He completely halted and stopped forward progression on some 280 plus pound brutes like it was nothing. Any player who is able to kick set, and hold their spot when pass blocking is rare.
Ultimately the Colts were in desperate need of Nelson on their line. Last season, Indianapolis racked up a league-leading 56 sacks allowed and came in sixth in quarterback hits at 113. This contributed greatly to Andrew Luck missing all of 2017.
A player of Nelson’s caliber and mentality help set the tone for his fellow linemates. Nelson might not be the oldest guy in the trenches, but he can have a huge influence on center Ryan Kelly, and fellow 2018 classmate Braden Smith. Everyone around him will want to put people in the dirt as much as he does.
Additionally, Nelson has proven to be an extremely hard worker. He has already been caught staying late after Rookie Minicamp practice putting in extra work. Everyone around him will follow his lead in due time.
The addition of Nelson has the potential to make the Colts a sneaky contender in the AFC South. Nelson will see a lot snaps in 2018, and coming with it will be boosted team rushing totals Also, do not be surprised if Luck also has a huge bounce-back year because of it.
Overall, the tone of Colts’ offense in 2018 will be a different one. Instead of struggle and frustration, expect power and toughness. Nelson will be the driving force behind all of this.