Nelson is the most talented and polished offensive lineman in the 2018 NFL Draft class, regardless of position. He also is one of the safest prospects in the draft class. Some team sources think that Nelson could be the best guard in the NFL early in his pro career and could be better than former Patriots All-Pro Logan Mankins. Some have higher grades on Nelson than they did on Mankins, David DeCastro or Brandon Scherff.
Nelson dominated for Notre Dame in 2017, showing the ability to overwhelm defensive linemen as a run blocker and pass protector. After surveying sources from around the league, including multiple general managers, Nelson is a consensus elite prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. However, he might go behind lesser prospects in the draft just because he is a guard and many teams don't value guards that high.
Nelson was dominant in 2016 and could have been a first-round pick if he had entered the 2017 NFL Draft. Nelson is strong at the point of attack to open holes in the ground game and athletic in pass protection. He was excellent at protecting quarterback DeShone Kizer in 2016. Sources said that Nelson was receiving first-round grades, and one national scout told WalterFootball.com that they think Nelson is a future Pro Bowler similar to Logan Mankins when he came into the NFL.
Nelson broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore and did an impressive job of opening holes for C.J. Prosise. As a freshman in 2014, Nelson was on the scout team. Going into the 2017 season, he is a true senior who has really impressed NFL scouts.
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