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Colts lone Pro-Bowler misses All-Pro campaign by a single point

Nelson joined Dallas’ Zack Martin, along with Hall of Famers Joe Thomas and Richmond Webb, as the only lineman to begin their careers with six straight Pro-Bowl nods.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (56) celebrates with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson (5) after a touchdown against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium — Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.
Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts left guard Quenton Nelson became the 15th NFL player to begin his career with six consecutive Pro-Bowl campaigns.

Nelson joined Dallas’ First Team All-Pro guard and Notre Dame alum Zack Martin, along with Hall of Famers Joe Thomas and Richmond Webb, as the only lineman to accomplish that feat.

Indianapolis’ sixth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft finished his sixth season with 1,141 snaps played, which was fifth-most among all guards. Nelson allowed just one sack in 2023, tied for the fewest among all linemen with at least 1,000 snaps. With just 21 pressures registered to Nelson, he allowed the third-fewest total pressures among guards with at least 1,000 snaps played.

According to Pro Football Focus, Nelson’s 80.3 pass block grade is the second-highest among all guards who played in every game during the 2023 season. Nelson’s 98.3 pass block efficiency was the third-highest score among qualified guards who played at least 1,000 snaps.

Before the 2022 season opener, the Colts reset the market to make Nelson the highest paid left guard in NFL history with a four-year, $80M deal. The massive extension inked Nelson through 2026, which will be the season before he turns 30 years old. Nelson brings an elite level of physicality inside the trenches and showcases his athleticism when used as a lead blocker to track down the second level of defense.

Five months ago, at the Colts training camp facility at Grand Park in Westfield, IN. Nelson told reporters about “wanting it, desiring it and being passionate about that every day”, to lead by example.

According to PFF, Indianapolis’ third-ranked o-line unit allowed just 15 sacks in 2023, which was the third-fewest in the league. Despite injuries plaguing the o-line down the home stretch, there is no emphasis or need to bolster the protection during the offseason. Colts offensive line coach Tony Sporano Jr. established continuity so the five offensive lineman can view the defense through one set of eyes.

For the second consecutive season, zero Colts players were voted to Associated Press All-Pro First or Second team. Indianapolis’ lone Pro Bowl guard missed the cut after earning All-Pro honors in three consecutive seasons from 2018-2020, then was selected to Second Team All-Pro in 2021.

Kansas City’s Joe Thuney was selected AP First Team All-Pro with 88 total points and 26 first-place votes. Dallas’ Tyler Smith was voted to Second Team All-Pro with 33 total points and five first-place votes. Despite earning nine first-place votes, Nelson fell short by one point with 32 total points. It’s the second season of the AP’s new voting system. First-team votes are worth three points and second-team votes are worth one point.

Indianapolis has four players who can be invited to the Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium as alternates after the AFC/NFC championship games are decided, including center Ryan Kelly, receiver Michael Pittman Jr., defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, and linebacker Zaire Franklin.