Quenton Nelson is a monster. Not a monster like myself or most of you lot, but a monster on the football field. And any way I can describe him in NFL terms will be inadequate compared to the always-fine writing of retired NFL defensive end and SB Nation colleague Stephen White, who profiled Nelson and why he’s so good on Thursday.
White calls Nelson a “goon” on the field, and talks of his mean streak. It’s probably an overused term, especially when dealing with offensive and defensive linemen, but it’s a cliche because it’s something that evaluators care about and players talk about.
“On just about every play of his that I watched, I saw a guy who wanted to dominate whoever he ended up blocking,” White writes. “Didn’t matter if it was a running play or a passing play.
“That Nelson is a goon is something that just jumps off the tape as soon as you turn it on because he ends so many plays driving defenders all over the field through the whistle.”
Playing through to the whistle is my absolute favorite quality any offensive lineman can have. Nothing annoys me more than an offensive lineman who stops blocking, stops trying to get back into the play or stands around in general. That also applies for blocking tight ends and running backs. It infuriates me.
White also spends a good amount of time talking about Nelson’s athleticism and his ability to block in space, something the 49ers sorely need out of the position. “In four games, I counted 35 times that Nelson pulled either right or left to make a block,” he writes.
There’s a lot more to the piece — a lot of video and a lot of analysis. You should check it out.
I don’t know that Nelson will make it to No. 9 overall, but with the hype around Saquon Barkley, the caliber of players like Bradley Chubb and Minkah Fitzpatrick and all the needs at quarterback, it’s certainly possible that Nelson falls. He shouldn’t, based on his talent, but the NFL Draft is a strange beast.