Grading every Colts first round pick under Chris Ballard
2018 Draft: Quenton Nelson at No. 6: A+
Obviously, the selection of Quenton Nelson is an A+ pick, and Indianapolis is thankful to have landed him. Indy entered that draft season with the No. 3 overall pick. However, the team had Andrew Luck at the time, so Indy was shopping the No. 3 pick to the quarterback-needy teams in the league (oh how they tables have turned). Indianapolis ultimately traded with the New York Jets and moved back to No. 6.
With the pick, Indianapolis selected Quenton Nelson, who everyone knew would be special based on his career at Notre Dame. However, no one could’ve predicted that Nelson would be as good as he was, as fast as he was. From the second he stepped on an NFL field, Nelson was immediately one of the best linemen in the entire league.
Playing at left guard, Nelson consistently made blocks that were highlight worthy. He started getting the coverage that a talented skill player would. After years of consistent play, he got the kind of money that a talented left tackle gets. Last offseason, Nelson signed a four-year contract extension worth $80 million, making him the highest-paid guard in NFL history.
In his five years in the league, Nelson has been selected to the Pro Bowl every year, and has made four All-Pro teams. However, in 2022, Nelson had a down year, the first time in his career where he looked anything other than extraordinary.
Nelson was well aware of his regression, and he’s focused on getting back to the version of himself that dominated everybody that lined up across from him.