"He will always have a few plays where he'll whiff because he's trying to kill you," an NFC executive told Fowler. "So he can make you hesitant to put that really big grade on him. But he wreaks havoc."
"Just turn on the tape. You'll see why he's No. 1," an AFC executive added.
There's little doubt that Nelson has emerged as not only the top interior offensive lineman in the NFL, but one of the game's best players, period. Not many can boast of being a Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro selection in each of their first two seasons.
And Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 11 player in all of football during the 2019 season:
"Nelson is a force in all areas of the game and a real tone-setter for the Colts' offensive line, as intangible as that is. On a more tangible level, he didn't surrender a sack all season despite blocking for a quarterback who makes that tougher than others do, and he was the second-best run-blocking guard in the NFL, one of just two to surpass a PFF grade of 90.0 in that area. Overall, Nelson ran Brandon Brooks close for the best-grade among guards, ending the year at 91.2 overall from over 1,000 snaps of action."
PFF had Brooks with a higher grade, ranking him the No. 5 player in all of the NFL last season. But the Colts will be perfectly satisfied with Nelson's performance regardless of where he ranks.
Put another way, new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers will be quite happy to have Nelson in front of him.