Rank: Nelson Will Have Biggest Impact Of Any Non-Quarterback In Draft

Saquon Barkley? Bradley Chubb? Nope. Adam Rank has high expectations for Quenton Nelson

The DA Show
April 05, 2018 - 12:19 pm

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NFL Network analyst Adam Rank believes, as many do, that Sam Darnold will be the best quarterback of the 2018 NFL Draft. But the best non-quarterback in the draft, well, Rank’s answer may surprise you.

“It’s tough because Bradley Chubb looks like a great player and can come in and make an immediate impact, but I’m going to take a little bit of a different turn,” Rank said on The DA Show. “I know the obvious answer is Saquon Barkley, but I don’t want to say him. I do want to say that Quenton Nelson is going to end up having probably the biggest impact of the non-quarterbacks. He’s going to go to a pretty good situation.”

The 6-5, 329-pound Notre Dame product is one of the top offensive linemen in the draft. A mauling blocker with great technique, Nelson opened up a lot of holes for Brandon Wimbush and Josh Adams last season, as that duo combined for 2,200+ rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns.

“Let’s say the Giants don’t want to draft Barkley (or) the quarterback of the future,” Rank said. “If you look Quenton Nelson and you paired him with Nate Solder and that side of the offensive line is set for the next decade, you can see the importance.”

Solder, a first-round pick in 2011, spent his first seven seasons in New England, winning two Super Bowls.

Nelson wouldn’t be a sexy pick, but he would be an effective one – sort of like another Notre Dame lineman, Zack Martin. The Cowboys drafted Martin 16th overall in 2014, and he’s been an All-Pro every season.

That was a wise pick by Dallas, especially given the alternative.

“The crowd was buzzing (that night) in anticipation of the Cowboys drafting Johnny Manziel,” Rank recalled. “You could feel it – and then it was a huge buzz kill when the Cowboys drafted Zack Martin because it’s not something that a fan base gets overly excited about. It’s like, ‘Dude, we drafted a guard. Sweet.’ But when you have a player like that who can come in, instantly help anchor an offensive line, wherever he goes – even if he went to the Colts or the Browns – I think he could come in and immediately make that team better.”