If there’s any testament to how smart Chris Ballard is, it’s the acquisition of guard Quenton Nelson. The Colts drafted Nelson in the first round of the 2018 draft and he came out swinging immediately. Andrew Luck was one of the most protected quarterbacks in the league in 2018, thanks to the firing squad known as Indy’s offensive line. An absolute monster in pass protection, Nelson led the team in pass-blocking grade and allowed just 23 pressures on 730 pass-blocking snaps.
“There’s so many things to love about him,” head coach Frank Reich told Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager. “He’s always striving to get better. It’s contagious in our locker room. If you wanna see how to finish blocks, just watch him play.”
Nelson’s rookie campaign left Colts fans with a lot of hope for the future. He became the first guard to be awarded Rookie of the Month in October. Pro Football Focus nominated him as a top tier offensive lineman. He appeared in the Pro Bowl AND went First-Team-All-Pro. This guy is the real deal.
In spirit of Nelson’s birthday today, I’ve rounded up five of his best moments in 2018.
5. Nelson vs. Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins
4. Nelson vs. Washington’s Pernell McPhee
3. Nelson vs. Tennessee’s Kevin Byard
2. Nelson vs. Jacksonville’s Barry Church
Colts got so much attention for Quenton Nelson’s screaming block vs. Jacksonville - see Twitter - that the NFL fined Indianapolis’ first-round pick $26,739 for leading with his helmet, per source. Nelson is appealing the fine from the play on which no penalty was called. pic.twitter.com/s82oQuIkoO— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 16, 2018
1. Nelson v. Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney
Quenton Nelson All-Pro, all day. pic.twitter.com/mzv515viOL— Dylan DeSimone (@DylanADeSimone) January 5, 2019
Honorable mention: Quenton Nelson as Cardi B
Happy birthday, Big Q. Colts Nation is proud to have you on our team.