ESPNs Jeremy Fowler recently ranked the top interior offensive lineman for 2021, (article found here) based on surveying “more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help us stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions, from edge rusher to interior offensive linemen and all the way through tight ends.”
At No. 1, which likely comes as no surprise, is Colts’ guard Quenton Nelson. The lowest ranking Nelson has had, according to the article, is at No. 2. But the 3x All-Pro comes in as the best rated guard in back-to-back years.
Fowler highlights Nelson’s ranking by writing, in part, “In collecting the ballots for each position, Nelson got the highest percentage of first-place votes of any player outside of Aaron Donald. The dominance label is used loosely, but Nelson has that ability.”
Speaking of Donald, both he and Nelson will face off against one another, which will make for quite the matchup, when the Rams come to town in Week 2 of the upcoming 2021 season.
Just three years into his career, it’s easy to see why many NFL scouts, experts and analysts had Nelson ranked as one of the best interior offensive lineman they’ve ever seen. All Nelson has done since entering the league is allow just 3 sacks in nearly 3,300 snaps, help pave the way for back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and become just the second player since Barry Sanders to be named first-team All-Pro in each of his first three seasons.
In every thinkable facet, Nelson has been the league’s top-rated guard since his rookie season in 2018. He’s been a part of one of the NFLs best, all-around units in the league, and his infectious play and leadership completely altered the way Indy’s offensive line has performed since his arrival.
During the last three seasons, the Colts’ offensive line has surrendered a grand total of 71 sacks, which ranks right up there with teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers (70) and the Kansas City Chiefs (75).
There’s a reason Nelson was ranked as the league’s top guard in back-to-back seasons. Many NFL fans and analysts expect him to continue his dominating opposing defensive lineman for the next decade plus.