Quenton Nelson Scouting Report
Quenton Nelson was a no-brainer for Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard at the No. 6 overall selection. Not by any knowledge of mine, but considering the fact that the pick was sent in with just a few minutes being taken off of the clock, it only makes sense that Ballard knew exactly who he wanted.
Once Saquon Barkley and Bradley Chubb came off the board to the New York Giants and Denver Broncos respectively, their didn’t appear to be a decision to make at all. Per the Stampede Blue Draft Guide, Nelson was the top graded player on the consensus big board.
The Colts drafted 10 offensive linemen in the Ryan Grigson era (2012-16) and only one of them in the first round. 6 of those 10 were drafted after the third round, and Ballard wasn’t going to allow the best overall talent in the draft to pass him by regardless of the holes on the Colts defensive side of the ball.
Ryan Kelly and Jack Mewhort have been the two best prospects to be drafted by the past regime along the line. Both have struggled to stay healthy, but with all of them healthy, Nelson, Kelly and Mewhort could be a very tight interior for the future of the Colts.
Nelson has the elite awareness necessary to help on the other side of the center, the strength to match up against the big boys on day one, and he has the agility to pull and get out in front of the running game just to consider a couple of the assets he brings to the table.
Per our resident OL scout, Chris Shepherd, Nelson is scheme versatile and can work seamlessly within a zone or man running scheme, he’s always looking for work and is an excellent pass protector.
With Andrew Luck’s health hitting the fever pitch in the last 12 months, Ballard made the decision to keep him healthy for as long as possible by scooping up Nelson. Regardless of what the Colts do at either tackle position in the future, their interior line may be more critical to the future of the offense considering how prominent interior rushing defensive linemen are making an impact.
Their were several very good players left on the board when the Colts selected Nelson; Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds and others, but getting a guy to protect the franchise who has a mean streak under those pads was likely the smartest — and safest — pick Chris Ballard could have made.