Can Colts guard Quenton Nelson reclaim the title of top interior offensive lineman?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Will Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson reclaim the title of top interior offensive lineman, or will he continue to slide down the list.

Not long ago, Quenton Nelson was one of the most dominant players in the NFL. Despite playing offensive line, Nelson quickly developed a reputation for his highlight-worthy blocks. From the moment he stepped on an NFL field, he dominated whoever lined up across from him. That’s been evident in his four All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowl selections in just five seasons.

However, Nelson isn’t currently considered the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL. After an extremely uncharacteristic year in 2022, Nelson has slid down the linemen rankings. Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports recently ranked the top 10 interior offensive linemen. Nelson was ranked fourth on the list.

While that’s pretty good, it’s two spots lower than where Nelson was ranked last offseason (No. 2). Additionally, a couple of seasons ago, many would say Nelson was undoubtedly the top guy. Will he bounce back in 2023 or continue to fall down the list?

Will Quenton Nelson bounce back for Colts?

Kerr was honest that Nelson’s reputation that he built in his first four seasons in the NFL is the reason he’s so high on the list after a bad year. While Kerr says the 2022 season could’ve been an outlier, he did detail just how uncharacteristic of a year it was for Quenton Nelson.

"Nelson, who allowed just four sacks in his first four seasons, allowed five in 686 pass-blocking snaps last season. On top of the sacks, Nelson allowed 30 pressures (allowed just 28 total the previous two seasons) and had a career worst pressure rate allowed per dropback of 4.4%."

Jeff Kerr (CBS Sports)

The question that everyone’s asking now is will Nelson bounce back or was 2022 just the start of a decline? Nelson acknowledged that he played poorly and explained that he has a plan to return to elite form. Considering what he’s done in the league, he’s earned the grace to believe he will rebound. Ultimately, he’ll have the opportunity to prove it on the field.