April 26, 2018
ARLINGTON, Texas - Former University of Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday evening at AT&T Stadium. He became the 67th former Irish player to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Nelson is the highest guard selected in the NFL draft since Bill Fralic of Pittsburgh was chosen second overall in 1985 by the Atlanta Falcons.
Nelson is the highest-drafted Notre Dame player since offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley was the sixth overall selection by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2016 draft. Nelson is the third Notre Dame offensive lineman in the last five years to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, joining Zack Martin (16th pick of the 2014 draft by the Dallas Cowboys) and Ronnie Stanley (sixth pick of the 2016 draft by the Baltimore Ravens).
Nelson is the 15th offensive lineman in school history to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. In addition to Nelson, Stanley, Martin and Kunz, 11 other Irish offensive lineman have been chosen in the first round, including Frank Szymanski (sixth overall by the Detroit Lions in 1945), George Connor (fifth overall by the New York Giants in 1946), Bill Fischer (10th overall by the Chicago Cardinals in 1949), Art Hunter (third overall by the Green Bay Packers in 1954), Frank Varrichione (sixth overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955), Paul Seiler (12th overall by the New York Jets in 1967), Tom Regner (23rd overall by the Houston Oilers in 1967), Andy Heck (15th overall by the Seattle Seahawks), Aaron Taylor (16th overall by the Green Bay Packers in 1994), Luke Petitgout (19th overall by the New York Giants in 1999) and Jeff Faine (21st overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2003).
Nelson becomes the 13th Notre Dame player ever drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and first in the first round. He also becomes the first Irish player drafted by the Colts since Hunter Smith in the seventh round of the 1999 draft.
Nelson started 36 times in his 37-game, three-year playing career. In 2017, he started all 13 games at left guard and ranked as the highest-rated offensive lineman in the country by Pro Football Focus (58.7) as the next highest-rated lineman sits at 48.6. Nelson has far surpassed any other offensive guard in the country, as well -- the next highest-rated guard sits at 34.5.
Nelson did not surrender a sack, allowed just one QB hit and three QB hurries in 883 offensive snaps in 2018. In fact, over his career (2,474 snaps), Nelson has surrendered just three sacks, none in the last two years, and only four quarterback hits.
Nelson was the highest-rated offensive guard in terms of run blocking in the country by Pro Football Focus (44.4) as well -- the next highest-rated run-blocking guard sits at 23.7.
As a senior captain in 2017, Nelson was named the 34th unanimous All-American in Notre Dame history and first Irish offensive lineman to earn the honor since tackle Aaron Taylor in 1993. He was a first-team All-American on all five teams the NCAA recognizes to calculate unanimous standing -- the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, The Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Associated Press.
Nelson is Notre Dame's sixth unanimous All-American offensive lineman -- joining the likes of tackle Joe Kurth (1932), tackle Ed Beinor (1938), guard Dick Arrington (1965), center John Scully (1980) and Taylor (1993).
Notre Dame's 2017 Monogram Club Most Valuable Player, Nelson spearheaded an offensive line that paved the way for the third-best FBS rushing attack in yards/carry (6.3), seventh-best in rushing offense (269.3 rush yards/game), eighth-best in total rushing yards (3,503) and 15th-best in rushing touchdowns (35). The 3,503 rush yards and 6.3 yards/carry were both single-season school records.
Nelson was a leader of Notre Dame's offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award. Presented by the Foundation for Teamwork, the award is given annually the "toughest, most physical offensive line in the country." He helped the Irish run for over 300 yards seven times in 2017 (the Irish eclipsed 300 yards rushing seven times over the previous 17 years combined). Nelson also blocked for seven different players that registered a run of at least 30 yards, four different players that rushed for at least 100 yards in a game, 13 separate 100-yard rushing games and 22 carries that netted at least 35 yards.
Notre Dame ranked in the top three nationally in runs of at least 20 yards (3rd, 42), 30 yards (1st, 28), 40 yards (3rd, 15), 50 yards (3rd, 11), 60 yards (1st, nine) and 70 yards (2nd, four).
-- ND --