NFL Draft 2018: Could the Miami Dolphins actually take this generational guard?

Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson is a unique talent. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS — He probably won’t be available when the Miami Dolphins draft at 11th overall.

And you may never have heard of Quenton Nelson. And you may think it’s absurd to even consider drafting an offensive guard that high.

But NFL personnel don’t feel that way. In fact, they think if he wasn’t a guard he’d for sure be one of the first few picks in this draft.

So what if, let’s just say, Notre Dame’s Nelson — who some people think is the type of guard who comes around every 10-20 years — were actually to slide to Miami on the first night of the draft.

“I think I should be talked in that regard, the top five conversation because you have guys that are dominating the NFL right now in Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox that have just been working on interior guys and you need guys to stop them, and I think I’m one of those guys,” Nelson said at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t spend a first-round draft choice on a guard. And yes, it is one of Miami’s needs. But the Dolphins have lots of needs. And for years, Miami has felt it could get by without big investments on guards.

But what if this guy is a Hall of Fame talent, like Dolphins legend Larry Little?

It would be no mistake then.

According to a scouting report by Lance Zierlein on, Nelson has “intimidating power,” “can forklift defenders,” is an “elite guard prospect with outstanding size, rare power and a block finisher,” and “has the traits and talent to become an All-Pro guard for years to come.”

In Indianapolis, many NFL personnel were saying Nelson is the easiest, safest pick in the draft.

But when you watch Nelson on film, what jumps out is his aggression. Nelson lives to maul, body slam and trample defensive opponents.

Nelson would bring an element to Miami’s offensive line that left with Richie Incognito.

“I would consider myself a nasty player,” said Nelson, when asked if he agrees with the notion that he is nasty.

Nelson is straight-forward, direct and a man of few words. But he also does not lack confidence.

“As a blocker my mindset is being dominant,” Nelson said. “I want to dominate all my opponents and take their will away to play the game by each play and finishing them past the whistle.”

Miami will obviously examine any available quarterback, offensive tackle and linebacker in the first three rounds of the draft.

But if this guy is available, drafting him would have to be seriously considered.

“Nelson had a terrific combine and is a plug-and-play, high-level starter,” writes ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. “He’s a guard, not a tackle, but he’s also currently my second-ranked prospect in this class.”

Nelson appreciates comparisons to former Cowboys guard Larry Allen and current Cowboys Pro Bowler Zack Martin.

It is not within the realm of possibility that Nelson has many, many Pro Bowls in his future.

“Whatever offensive line I join, what I want to do is keep my head down, work very hard, learn a lot from the older guys and earn their respect through my work ethic and how I carry myself day in and day out,” Nelson said. “And then we’ll take it from there.”

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2018 NFL Draft: Is dynamic, game-changing LB Roquan Smith right for Miami Dolphins?

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