clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ESPN Ranks Colts’ Quenton Nelson as NFL’s Best Interior Offensive Lineman for 2022

Seattle Seahawks v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

ESPN has ranked Indianapolis Colts left guard Quenton Nelson as the NFL’s best interior offensive lineman, marking the third straight year the All-Pro lineman has been No. 1 on their list.

Highest ranking: 1 | Lowest ranking: 3

Age: 26 | Last year’s ranking: 1

Nelson tops this list for the third consecutive year, though with less conviction than in the past. Zack Martin and Brandon Scherff stole several of his first-place votes.

“He’s still the guy you would start a team with [at guard],” a prominent NFL coach said. “You just have to watch him to know he’s a special player who can dominate a game at times.”

Evaluators believe Nelson can handle a stout defensive tackle on his own, and he has made efforts to improve the whiffs that used to plague him when he went for the big play. He didn’t have his most consistent season in 2021, but he was also dealing with foot and ankle injuries throughout the season. Nelson’s 94.1% pass block win rate was 12th among guards last season, and his 71.7% run block win rate was 13th at the position.

Overall, Nelson’s 94.6% pass block win rate since entering the NFL in 2018 ranks seventh among guards.

Not many have dominated at their position the way Nelson has through his first four seasons. The perennial Pro Bowler has surrendered four total sacks since entering the league in 2018, including just one in 2021.

Additionally, Nelson posted an overall grade of 86.0 or better in both 2019 and 2020 on the Pro Football Focus scale.

Nelson is also the second Colts player to be ranked No. 1 at his respective position, joining teammate Darius Leonard, whom ESPN ranked as their top inside linebacker.

While there isn’t an exact timetable for a long-term extension for Nelson, the three-time All-Pro will eventually cash in with the Colts and likely become the highest-paid guard in the league.

Until then, Nelson, who has said he’s “not focused” on getting a deal done with Indianapolis at the moment, will turn his attention toward protecting new quarterback Matt Ryan and paving the way for running back Jonathan Taylor in 2022.