Quenton Nelson Draws Notable Recognition from NFL Executives, Coaches & Players

Quenton Nelson

Getty Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Quenton Nelson was ranked among the best offensive linemen on ESPN's best-of lists.

Another offseason, another year with Quenton Nelson ranked as the top offensive guard in the NFL.

Staff writer Jeremy Fowler of ESPN has been compiling opinions from NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players to rank the best NFL players at each position. On his best-of interior offensive linemen list, Nelson was ranked No. 1 for the third straight year.

“He’s still the guy you would start a team with [at guard],” a prominent NFL coach told Fowler. “You just have to watch him to know he’s a special player who can dominate a game at times.”

Nelson did not make first-team All Pro last year, as he dealt with some inconsistency and injuries. He underwent foot surgery last August and then missed three games because of a high-ankle sprain he suffered during Week 3. Nelson also sat out a game in December when the Colts placed him on the COVID-19 list.

But he did make second-team All Pro in 2021 and first-team All Pro during each of his first three NFL seasons. Nelson is also a four-time Pro Bowler.

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Nelson Ranked Best Guard in NFL

In light of Nelson’s “down season,” Fowler wrote that other guards Zack Martin and Brandon Scherff received several first-place votes for his list. Nelson is no longer the clear-cut top guard in the league.

But he still finished the voting process for ESPN’s best-of interior offensive guards list at No. 1.

“Evaluators believe Nelson can handle a stout defensive tackle on his own, and he has made efforts to improve the whiffs that used to plague him when he went for the big play,” Fowler wrote. “Nelson’s 94.1% pass block win rate was 12th among guards last season, and his 71.7% run block win rate was 13th at the position.

“Overall, Nelson’s 94.6% pass block win rate since entering the NFL in 2018 ranks seventh among guards.”

The player grades at Pro Football Focus ranked Nelson as the No. 22 offensive guard in the NFL last year (among guards with at least 700 snaps). But in each of his first three seasons, Nelson finished with a PFF grade that rated him one of the best three guards in the league.

Despite his “down season,” the lowest interior linemen ranking Nelson received from an evaluator in Fowler’s best-of list was third.

Nelson Looking for Next Contract

The three-time first-team All Pro is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him $13.754 million this season. It shouldn’t be too long before Nelson is paid a lot more than that.

Fowler reported in May that several agents told him that “Nelson will break the bank” with his next contract.

Scherff is currently the highest-paid guard at $16.5 million per year. Fowler reported that Nelson could receive closer to $20 million per season.

NFL writer Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report projected in June that Nelson’s next contract would be for five years and worth $95 million, including $50 million guaranteed.

In addition to Nelson, other Indianapolis Colts players are receiving recognition on Fowler’s compiled best-of lists. Darius Leonard was ranked No. 1 among inside linebackers and DeForest Buckner was rated the No. 4 defensive tackle.

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