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Ledyard | Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson a big time finisher

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Scouting Notes

Ledyard | Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson a big time finisher

Gabe Jackson. Joshua Garnett. Richie Incognito.

The comparisons to other power guards will flow fast and furiously for Notre Dame left guard Quenton Nelson this fall, as the four-star prospect enters his final season of college eligibility with one longterm goal in mind: becoming a first round NFL draft pick.

The NFL Advisory Board gave Nelson a second round grade at the conclusion of the 2016 season, which for many guards would have been enough to jump into a weak offensive line class and be a surefire top 60 pick. But not Nelson, who felt there was unfinished business to attend to at Notre Dame, and wanted to finish out his eligibility on a high note after drudging through a 4-8 season last year.

That competitive drive isn’t only found in Nelson’s decision-making off the field, but on it as well. The senior is a big believer in not taking plays off, and finishing his blocks to send a message to his opponents.

As I wrote in Nelson’s report, there will be quibbles about his occasional technique or eye level lapses in the run game, but the vast majority of the time, the New Jersey native is employing devastating power and leg drive in his blocks to create rushing lanes and put defenders in the dirt.

Tight splits up front for the double team, but Nelson takes most of the block on the 3-technique, uprooting the defender to create movement. Nelson’s hand placement and leg drive are picture perfect, as he keeps bringing his lower half so he can sustain contact and maintain chest control. The burly guard is one of the strongest offensive linemen in college football, but his ability to stay leveraged and keep his hands inside his opponent at all times allow his natural power to shine.

Movement is created right away here, as Nelson’s first step explosiveness aids him in quickly gaining control of his opponent through the use of the techniques discussed above. Once Nelson finds your leverage points or gets his hands fitted inside, you better protect yourself as a defender, because he’s looking for the kill shot.

Getting finished to this extent as a defensive linemen is demoralizing, especially when it happens repeatedly throughout the game. Michigan State senior defensive tackle Kevin Williams is the victim Nelson works over in the last two clips, and you could identify the toll the battle exacted on him from his body language by the end of the game.

Nelson and left tackle Mike McGlinchey will return this season to form one of the more formidable offensive line duos in college football. I’m not sure I’ve seen two linemen at the college level so consistently team up for monster double team finishes, and while Nelson seems to be carrying most of the load, McGlinchey deserves some credit as well.

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Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard has been writing about the NFL draft for several years now, and is thrilled to be bringing creative content and unique analysis to NDT Scouting. He lives with his wife Brittany and four-month old daughter Caylee in mid-western Pennsylvania. Jon is also the host of the Locked on NFL Draft and Breaking the Plane podcasts, while covering the Steelers for scout.com. The Office, LOST, weightlifting, ultimate frisbee, grilling, Duke basketball, and all Pittsburgh pro sports teams are his greatest passions.

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