Mayock pushes guard Quenton Nelson as a potential top-five pick

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As the Scouting Combine approaches and NFL teams prepare to see a bunch of players on a football field doing something other than playing football in Indianapolis, the overall quality of the incoming class of prospect will come into sharper focus. Mike Mayock of NFL Network, who has emerged over the last 15 years into perhaps the best draft analyst of them all, already has a high opinion of a player from a position that often doesn’t go very high in the draft.

Mayock, as explained to Peter King of SI.com, believes that the best players on film so far this year are Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Notre Dame guard — yes, guard — Quenton Nelson.

I think when you look around the NFL today and see that there are more and more high level interior pass rushers than there were five years ago, you know have to be strong across the offensive front,” Mayock told King. “Every top-level quarterback I’ve ever talked to told me that what they hate the most is immediate pressure up the middle. If they can step up into a pocket, they’re all happy. And that’s what [Nelson] is. He is a son of a bitch who is going to knock people down in the run game. I call him a people mover. He opens holes. For 330 pounds, his feet are pretty good. I think he can plug-and-play there for the next 10 or 12 years.”

Guards rarely have exited the board in the first 10 picks in recent years, and Mayock understands that.

“I would look at who this kid is, not just on tape, but who the kid is,” Mayock said. “He loves football, lives football, and because of his work ethic, toughness, and natural ability, unless he has an injury, I think this kid is going to be special.”

All it takes is one team in the top 10 to agree with Mayock, and Nelson will become only the fourth interior offensive lineman to land in the top 10 since New Year’s Eve in 1999.

8 responses to “Mayock pushes guard Quenton Nelson as a potential top-five pick

  1. Mayock sounds good if you don’t know anything about football. The Eagles’ guards were drafted in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. The Patriots’ guards were drafted in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Neither Tom Brady or Nick Foles are very mobile guys. Go ahead and draft a guard with the number five pick and you’ll be picking in the top five again next year.

  2. Interior linemen taken top 10 since 1990 (Chris Naeole, Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper): 0 combined Pro Bowls. For top 15 guys, Ruben Brown was fantastic and Mike Pouncey has been good when healthy, but Eugene Chung was a mega-bust and Steve Everitt was so-so. That’s the full track record, and it isn’t particularly good. Cooper and Warmack in particular were supposed to be easy “plug and play for a decade” guys, and ended up being anything but. Meanwhile, the most “plug and play ready” OG taken in over a decade, Zack Martin, was regarded as something of a “yawn” pick at 16th overall. None of this means Nelson isn’t worth taking high, but we should dispense with the notion that an OG ultra-prospect is somehow a safer pick. It isn’t, any more than picks at other spots. Scout him as best you can and make the call, but there are no guarantees no matter how much the Mayocks of the world say otherwise.

  3. Looking at prospect rankings and mock drafts in February is a form of mental masturbation… my least favorite type.

    We have the combine this weekend, free agency in two weeks, and then the prospects have to go to all of their interviews. A lot is going to change over the next 2 months.

  4. I have been hearing broadcasters on both TV and radio suggesting he’s a top 5 pick since Bowl season. The clips of him that went along with the commentary were totally and completely dominating.

  5. Mayock sounds good if you don’t know anything about football. The Eagles’ guards were drafted in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. The Patriots’ guards were drafted in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Neither Tom Brady or Nick Foles are very mobile guys. Go ahead and draft a guard with the number five pick and you’ll be picking in the top five again next year.
    ———————–
    This is a really poor example. Generally, we feel that franchise QB’s come in the first round, correct? That’s why everyone is talking about Darnold, Mayfield, Rosen and Allen.
    How about a couple of guys who are in the 1-2 conversation as GOAT. Montana was a 3rd and Brady a 6th.
    You can get superior talent in later rounds but you can’t depend upon it. Bottom line, if there is a stud go get him.

  6. .
    Good luck to all our mock drafters this year. Anyone who can correctly match the first five picks with the proper team should immediately be Hall of Fame eligible.
    .

  7. If the GIANTS do not go with a QB at #2, this is the guy I want them to take.

    Then in the 2nd round (If he is there) grab Billy Price, the Center from Ohio State. Price has a mean streak too, and is super smart.

    This will go a long way towards fixing the O-Line.

    Free Agency will determine a lot of this though.

  8. Zack Martin was drafted #16 overall by the Cowboys back in 2014, and many consider him the best guard in the NFL.

    Moral of the story: If you think he’s a stud, you draft him. Stop worrying about what pick you take him with.

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