Colts' Quenton Nelson Tops ESPN's Rankings of Best NFL IOL for 3rd Straight Year

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 10, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 18: Indianapolis Colts Offensive Guard Quenton Nelson (56) in game action during a NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals on October 18, 2020, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by MSA/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MSA/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson remains the best at what he does, according to NFL personnel.

The fourth-year veteran was ranked the No. 1 interior linemen in the league in a survey of executives, coaches, scouts and players, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. It's the third straight year of topping this poll, with no votes ranking him lower than third.

"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 is coming off what might have been his worst season in the NFL. After making all 48 possible regular-season starts during his first three years, he missed four games in 2021 because of foot and ankle injuries.

The left guard earned a fourth Pro Bowl selection and was named second-team All-Pro, although it was his first time not being on the All-Pro first team.

The Colts still benefited from his blocking, finishing second in the NFL in both rushing yards and yards per carry. Running back Jonathan Taylor led the league in both rushing yards (1,811) and rushing touchdowns (18).

Though Carson Wentz was inconsistent in the passing attack, it wasn't due to a lack of time in the pocket. Indianapolis ranked tied for ninth with 32 sacks allowed last year.

Other linemen like center Ryan Kelly and tackle Eric Fisher (now a free agent) also played a big part of the unit's success, but Nelson is the true difference-maker up front.

This production has helped the Notre Dame product easily live up to expectations as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 draft.