Quenton Nelson is not just the best guard prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft, he’s the best offensive lineman, and by good measure too.
One of the best position units last year in college football was the Notre Dame offensive line. Led by left guard Quenton Nelson, left tackle Mike McGlinchey and coached by now-Bears offensive line coach, Harry Hiestand, the Irish were a fun team to watch if you loved trench warfare.
With the NFL Draft nearing, I wanted to provide my insight as a die-hard college football fan and someone who watched every Notre Dame game of Nelson’s career to provide a different perspective than what you may see elsewhere during the pre-draft process.
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Typically, it’s the left tackles that get all the attention at the NFL Draft, but Nelson is the best guard prospect of his generation and the top offensive lineman in the draft. Nelson has no injury or character concerns and is as clean of a prospect as any in the draft.
The 6-5, 325-pound Nelson is a three-year starter with experience at both guard spots but will be a fixture at the left guard spot. Nelson was voted a team captain his last year at Notre Dame and will be a leader in the locker room and huddle for his NFL team.
Nelson has long arms and big, powerful hands to deliver a punch to jar interior defensive lineman off their pass-rush pursuit. He is an above-average pass blocker and an elite run blocker who will instantly make his team’s running game better.
My favorite trait about Nelson is his physical and nasty demeanor he brings to the field. Nelson projects as a Day 1 starter with an All-Pro potential in the mold of fellow Notre Dame product, Zack Martin.
Guards don’t traditionally get drafted very high, but Martin went in the mid-first and Stanford product David DeCastro went at No. 24 to the Steelers and they’re going to the Pro Bowl for the next six-eight years. I think Nelson is going to be in their same tier. I’ll stop short of comparing him to Steve Hutchinson who is headed to the Hall of Fame, but that represents his ceiling.
Draft projection: Top 10