The arrow on Quenton Nelson’s NFL Draft stock continues to point up, and the latest commentary from a league executive isn’t going to slow that momentum down one bit.
In Matt Miller’s most recent scouting notebook at Bleacher Report, one Director of Player Personnel dropped a pretty huge compliment on the All-American Notre Dame guard: “If you want to call him the best player in this class, no one can argue with you, and there’s no way he’ll bust. As safe as they come.”
It’s a statement like that which makes you wonder if Nelson will even be available when the Chicago Bears get on the clock with the eighth overall pick. Despite being a guard – a position that doesn’t get drafted with a premium pick too often – it’s becoming increasingly possible that Nelson gets selected within the first seven picks. That would be a bummer for the Bears, who could stand to get younger and better at the position, even if they currently have two Pro Bowl guards – Kyle Long and Josh Sitton – on their roster. Hey, protecting Mitch Trubisky and putting him the best position to succeed matters.
They could also always part ways with Sitton and reallocate the funds saved from not picking up his option to a player at another position – but that’s a discussion for another day.
Of course, because Nelson is a guard, it’s still possible he slides into the Bears’ lap at eighth overall. Especially if teams were to stay true to Miller’s big board rankings, which feature three quarterbacks in the top seven.
Reminder, the more quarterbacks that go ahead of where the Bears pick, the better the chances of GM Ryan Pace landing one of the draft’s best prospects at a position of need. We could be looking at a scenario where the Bears get a shot at selecting one of the five best non-QB prospects in the draft. That’s a winning scenario for a Bears team that needs as many breaks as it can get this offseason to get going in the right direction.
In more, positive news, Miller’s list of top-50 draft prospects includes five wide receivers, with Alabama’s Calvin Ridley (14th) and SMU’s Courtland Sutton (25th) leading the way. Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk (40th), Maryland’s D.J. Moore (42nd), and Oklahoma State’s James Washington (50th) fall in line after Ridley and Sutton. While there’s clearly some varying opinions on the relative order of Kirk and Sutton – they’re often flipped in the rankings – Ridley remains firmly on top. If the Bears are going to take a receiver in the first round, he’d be the guy. But if they wait until the second round – perhaps because they were able to snag someone like Nelson in the first – the decision is far less clear.
In any case, if the Bears can pluck one of the draft’s top-5 receiver prospects along with a player so safe, one front office executive guaranteed he won’t bust, then you can sign us up for that outcome any day of the week.