The Chicago Bears hosted Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson on a pre-draft visit on Thursday, according to NBC Sports/Rotoworld’s Josh Norris.
After Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley’s name garnered the most attention during the early stages of mock draft season, no player has been more frequently sent to the Bears in variations of mock drafts than Nelson – and for good reason. Nelson is the highest-graded offensive line prospect in the draft who some draft analysts believe is among this class’ top-5 prospects. Further, Nelson plays a position where the Bears currently have a pretty significant vacancy. Factor in Nelson’s college position coach was Harry Hiestand, who serves in that capacity with the Bears now and it’s a match made in heaven … right?
Not so fast, my friend.
Nelson has met with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a pair of teams who pick ahead of the Bears and could conceivably draft the All-American lineman to bolster their respective offensive lines. Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard took a first-hand look at Nelson when he visited Notre Dame’s pro day. Nelson also met with the Green Bay Packers at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, because of course they did.
Despite being a guard, a position that is traditionally lesser-valued than others, Nelson is viewed as a top-5 talent who could be off the board when the Bears pick at No. 8. But if three or four quarterbacks go off the board in the first seven picks and teams stick to a traditional valuation of interior line positions, Nelson could slide down to Chicago. And if he is there, it would be hard to imagine the Bears passing on a potential impact lineman who can help clear running room for Jordan Howard and keep pass rushers off Mitch Trubisky’s back.