Data Scout Notes: 2018: 01-01-18 - Announced Early Entry into 2018 NFL Draft…**2017: OutlandTrophyFinalist
*Quenton Nelson/Notre Dame football Videos
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Quenton Nelson Notre Dame Fighting Irish Offensive Guard 6-4, 330, 5.24, #56 Holmdel, NJ Red Bank Catholic High School
Notre Dame won the Joe Moore Award as the nation's top offensive line. The 14th-ranked Fighting Irish had both left tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Quenton Nelson selected to the AP All-America team, and ranked third in the nation in yards per carry at 6.37. The other finalists were the Alabama and Auburn offensive lines. The rest of Notre Dame's offensive line features Alex Mustipher at center, Alex Bars at right guard and Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey shared time at right tackle.
12-08-17: Quenton Nelson received the 2017 University of Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player honor Nelson -- the first offensive lineman to win MVP since guard Al Wujciak in 1975 and only the third in school history -- was one of 17 players honored at the 97th Fighting Irish football awards show.
Nelson, an Outland Trophy finalist and Walter Camp First Team All-American, started all 12 games at left guard and ranks as the highest-rated offensive lineman in the country by some rating groups.
Nelson has not surrendered a sack or QB hit, and allowed just two QB hurries in 819 offensive snaps this season. In fact, over his career (2,336 snaps), Nelson has surrendered just two sacks, none in the last two years, and only two quarterback hits.
Years ago, left tackles were the premier players among offensive linemen with most serving as the blindside pass protector for their club's right-handed quarterbacks and often facing opponents' top rusher.
Defenses are much more complicated in today's game with some of the NFL's most effective sack artists now gap-splitting defensive tackles or edge rushers looping inside after initially lining up on the outside. The straightest line to the quarterback, after all, is right up the middle.
As such, difference-makers along the interior of the offensive line have become very nearly as valuable as tackles in the modern NFL. This is especially true for blockers like Nelson, who not only are effective in pass protection but dominant run blockers, as well.
Nelson redshirted his first season at Notre Dame but has more than lived up to his prep All-American billing since, starting every game but one over the past three seasons at left guard, allowing zero QB sacks (or even hits) over the past two years and helping the Irish average an eye-popping 6.4 rushing yards per attempt in 2017.
Generally, running backs get most of the credit when teams run the ball this effectively but it was Nelson who was voted team MVP during the awards banquet. Nelson was just the third blocker for the Irish to ever be so honored in the school's 97-year history and the first since guard Al Wujciak in 1975.
Massive, mobile and mean, Nelson is a prototypical guard who will be expected to not only make an immediate impact for his future NFL team but compete for future Pro Bowls, much like his predecessor with the Irish, current Dallas Cowboys' second year All-Pro Zack Martin. Just like Martin - the 16th overall pick in 2014 - Nelson ranks among the safest prospects in the 2018 NFL draft.
BACKGROUND Highly regarded prep prospect ranked as a Second Team USA Today All-American and honorable mention Parade All-American. Played both the offensive and defensive line for a Red Bank Catholic squad which finished 9-1 in 2013 and averaged 279 rushing yards and 43.5 points per game with Nelson recording 61 tackles and three sacks on defense. Missed just one game (Navy, 2015) over his college career due to an injury (ankle). Redshirted in 2014.
STRENGTHS Possesses a thick, burly build well-suited to playing in the trenches with broad shoulders, a barrel chest and anvils for limbs. Generates rare power at the point of attack, consistently driving defensive linemen off the ball with an explosive pop on contact, rolling through his hips to finish, delivering more pancakes than a busy server at IHOP.
Terrific initial quickness out of his stance on down blocks and when pulling, showing light feet and balance to escape, scrape and get to the second level. Takes efficient power steps, not over-extending himself in a blind pursuit of speed to get to linebackers and leaving himself unbalanced. An intimidating blocker on the move, arriving with a plan and anticipating where defenders are headed.
Good speed for a man of his size to get to the second level and can adjust to moving targets, generating some wicked hits on linebackers to clear big rushing lanes. Eases out of his stance in pass protection, showing confidence in his lateral agility to mirror defensive tackles. Keeps his butt down and knees bent, absorbing bull rushers by winning the leverage battle and controlling opponents with excellent hand strength and placement. Looks for work when not covered up, keeping his head on a swivel to help his left tackle and center. Shows a secondary burst to close on surprise blitzers and stunts, getting a powerful shove on defenders to buy ball-carriers extra time. Durable performer with just one missed start due to injury (2015). - Rob Rang 12/11/2017
WEAKNESSES Flanked by a top 50 NFL prospect in left tackle Mike McGlinchey and therefore is afforded protection few other top guards in this class received. A bit inconsistent with his initial get-off and can be a step late off the ball. Got away with extending his arms to grab cloth and "catch" defenders and was given the benefit of the doubt by college officials but could get flagged for holding against stronger, quicker NFL defenders who won't be so easily slowed. Above average athlete in space but does not possess the straight-line speed to wow in workouts. -- Rob Rang 12/11/2017
COMPARES TO: Hall of Famer Mike Munchak, Oilers. Athletic, powerful and highly aggressive, Munchak earned the No. 8 overall selection in 1982 and became an immediate standout at left guard for Houston, earning invitations to nine Pro Bowls over his 12 NFL seasons. A similar blend of consistency and immediate impact potential could earn the even-more imposing Nelson a top 10 grade, as well.
IN OUR VIEW: It isn't often that an interior offensive lineman warrants top 10 consideration but Nelson is an exceptional talent, as the fact that he was named MVP for Notre Dame in 2017 suggests. Nelson's blend of prototypical size, sheer power, efficient athleticism and finishing mentality suggest an immediate impact and future Pro Bowl votes. --Rob Rang, 12-13-17
Nelson is the first offensive lineman to win MVP since guard Al Wujciak in 1975 and only the third in school history. An Outland Trophy finalist and Walter Camp First Team All-American, started all 12 games at left guard and ranks as the highest-rated offensive lineman in the country by Pro Football Focus (48.1) -- next highest-rated lineman sits at 44.9. Nelson has far surpassed any other offensive guard in the country as well -- next highest-rated guard sits at 39.0. Nelson has not surrendered a sack or QB hit, and allowed just two QB hurries in 819 offensive snaps this season. In fact, over his career (2,336 snaps), Nelson has surrendered just two sacks, none in the last two years, and only two quarterback hits.
Started all 12 games at left tackle...Helped running back Josh Adams run for over 100 yards four times (Nevada, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and USC), including a career-best 180 yards at rival USC (Nov. 26)...Part of the offensive line that paved the way for 417.6 total yards per game.
Saw action in 12 games and started 11 at left guard on an offensive line which was a finalist for the inaugural Joe Moore Award. Missed the Navy game (Oct. 10) and most of USC (Oct. 17) with an ankle injury.
Part of an offensive line that helped the Irish average 5.63 rushing yards per carry (eighth-best in the FBS) -- a modern (post WWII) school record Notre Dame ranked 27th nationally in total offense, averaging 466.4 yards per game, its third-best mark since setting a school record in 1970 by averaging 510.5 yards per game. Notre Dame was one of 11 programs nationally to average 205 yards rushing and 250 yards passing per game in 2015 (Irish had not accomplished this feat since 1970) Notre Dame averaged 207.6 rushing yards per game (28th in the FBS), the best rushing output since 2000, including six games with 200+ yards (Texas, Virginia, Georgia Tech, UMass, USC and Stanford).
Paved the way for first-year RB C.J. Prosise, who rushed for 1,032 yards (second-fewest carries needed to reach 1,000 yards) and recorded the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history, and freshman RB Josh Adams, who set a freshman single-season school record with 835 yards rushing.
Blocked for an Irish rushing attack that recorded 457 yards vs. UMass (Sept. 26) -- the best single-game rushing total by Notre Dame in 23 years, and 299 yards at Stanford (Nov. 28) -- the most by an opponent in David Shaw's five seasons (35 carries for an 8.5 per-carry average against nation's No. 22 rush defense). Helped the Irish register a pair of 90+ yard TD rushes (Adams 98 vs. Wake Forest, Prosise 91 vs. Georgia Tech). Notre Dame had just two rushes of at least 90 yards in the first 126 seasons of Irish football.
The 98-yard TD run by Adams vs. Wake Forest was the longest play from scrimmage in Notre Dame history and longest rush by a freshman in NCAA history. Blocked for 10 individual 100-yard rushing games -- the most by the Irish since 1983 (11). Three different Notre Dame players recorded 100-yard rushing games.
One of four freshman offensive linemen who spent the season on scout team and did not see the field...Joined Sam Mustipher, Jimmy Byrne and Alex Bars as rookies who helped the Irish on their offensive scout team.
Attended Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, N. J. Second-team offensive lineman on USA Today All-USA prep All-America squad for 2013. Honorable mention selection on Parade prep All-America squad Ranked as 29th-best player nationally by Rivals.com, 46th by Scout.com, 50th by Tom Lemming/CBS Sports, 74th by 247Sports and 175th by ESPN Second-team offensive lineman on MaxPreps 2013 All-America team Named to USA Today American Family Insurance All-USA New Jersey team for 2013.
Played offensive line for Red Bank Catholic High School. Named to MSG Varsity all-New Jersey squad. Team finished 9-1 in 2013 and averaged 279 rushing yards and 43.5 points per game. Had 61 tackles and three sacks on defense. All-Northeast Region preseason pick for 2013.
Named to MaxPreps Junior All-America 2012 second team Helped Red Bank Catholic to New Jersey state title game with 42 tackles and seven sacks while winning Newark Star-Ledger second-team all-state honors Helped Red Bank Catholic average 38 points and 341 yards per game on offense in 2012. Played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
Enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, majoring in management consulting.
Draft Scout Player News
02/28/18 - 2018 NFL Combine: Interior OL Measures Up to Expectations: The love affair scouts have for Notre Dame's Nelson likely burned even brighter as the consensus top-rated blocker showed nearly a perfect frame for the position, measuring in at 6-5, 325 pounds, with 10 3/8-inch hands, 33 6/8-inch arms and an 82 5/8-inch wingspan. Billy Price, Daniels and Nelson headline a group that has captured the attention of Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, among others. When asked what were the strengths of this year's class, Licht immediately pointed to the "interior of both lines," also mentioning the running backs and cornerbacks. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
02/28/18 - 2018 NFL Combine Quotes: On Quinton Nelson, Can guard be the best player in draft class? "I'm always open to good players at whatever position they come. Guards are getting paid a lot in free agency. We found that out with Zeitler. Whether they change your fortunes or not as a team is the debatable point. The question was more specifically on Quinton Nelson. Quinton is as fine a college football player as I've seen in a long time. As complete as I've seen. I'm not sure Quinton can't play any of the five spots up front. We'll see where he ultimately lines up as a rookie and second-year player. It's a philosophical question, do guards matter? Every position matters on the field. He certainly has earned his way to the top of this draft for sure." - Cincinnati Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin
02/27/18 - 2018 NFL Combine: Prospects Who Need to Measure Up: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame...The best player in the 2018 draft class, Nelson's weight has fluctuated between 320 and 340 over his career at Notre Dame. Scouts will be eager to put exact measurements on his tag. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
02/26/18 - OG Quenton Nelson would make a lot of sense as the fifth pick to Denver, if the Broncos want to continue to bolster the offensive line. Nelson and Ronald Leary would immediately create one of the best guard combinations in the NFL. -- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/04/18 - 2017 ASSOCIATED PRESS ALL-BOWL TEAM: Offensive line: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (Citrus): This consensus All-American capped a brilliant season by making a number of highlight-worthy blocks against a stingy defense in the 14th-ranked Fighting Irish's 21-17 victory over No. 16 LSU. - AP College Football