The former Irish guard is projected by many mocks to go as high as No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Quenton Nelson could very well reap the rewards of the success of one of his predecessors in the 2018 NFL Draft.
When it comes to offensive line play, the standard for success in the NFL as of late has been the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas’ offensive line has been one of the top units in the league for the better part of four years. It’s no coincidence that four years is exactly how long former Notre Dame guard Zack Martin has been a member of the Cowboys.
Martin is widely regarded as the best offensive lineman in the game today and the catalyst for the success the Cowboys have had on the offensive line. His success appears to have changed the way NFL teams are looking at the guard position — and may be changing the way they look at another Notre Dame offensive lineman.
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Former Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson is widely regard by most scouts and draft analysts as the top lineman available in this year’s NFL Draft. Most of the time, that title goes to an offensive tackle. Nelson is a guard, which makes things more interesting at the top of the draft. Historically, we’ve seen teams be hesitant to take guards with a top-five pick. With the rise of the Dallas line on the shoulders of Martin, however, all signs are pointing to that trend possibly changing.
Free agency and trades have set up the draft in a way that favors Quenton Nelson going as high as No. 2 overall to the Giants. The Browns have two solid guards already and are projected by most to take either Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or a quarterback. The Giants are in need of a long-term answer at quarterback as well, but they need to shore up their offensive line before sticking an inexperienced signal-caller behind it. That’s largely why some mocks have Nelson being drafted at No. 2.
If Nelson does indeed go off the board in that spot, it would be the first time since 1985 that a true guard went off the board with one of the top-two picks. That year, Pitt’s Bill Fralic was taken 2nd overall by the Atlanta Falcons. A year earlier, Nebraska guard Dean Steinkuhler was taken at No. 2 by the Houston Oilers. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Leonard Davis No. 2 overall in 2001, but he was projected as a tackle by most outlets and played both positions throughout his career.
Any way you look at it and regardless of where he goes, Quenton Nelson is going to be one of the best overall players available when the draft kicks off. That’s good for both his bank account and Notre Dame’s growing reputation as one of the best NFL offensive linemen factories in college football.