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Nick Nelson excels at defending the pass can the Redskins make him a more well-rounded corner?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2018 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins.

Michigan v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Nick Nelson, CB
School: Wisconsin | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: rJr | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 208 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd Round or 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Desmond King

College Statistics

Player Overview

Nick Nelson is from District Heights, Maryland and graduated from Suitland High School in 2013. He was a 2-star recruit when he was weighing his options in determining which college program he would attend. He had offers from a couple of smaller schools in North Carolina and from Temple. Nelson ended up committing to Hawaii. His high school coach knew one of the Hawaii coaches and pitched Nelson to the staff. At first, Nelson thought it was too far away from home. However, his dad convinced him he should go because he would get national exposure playing USC every year. Nelson wanted to play top competition and that sold him.

Nelson had an ok freshman year and a good sophomore year where he compiled 15 passes defended refining his most endearing trait which is defending the catch point. Nelson ultimately wanted to be closer to home and transferred to Wisconsin where he had one of the best statistical seasons by a cornerback this year. Nelson excels at defending the pass. He doesn't have eye-opening long speed but his short area quickness is great. Paired with his vision and instincts Nelson is also a physical corner that knows when to time his breakups. Nelson’s hands may be called into question as he has not recorded a collegiate interception in his career but he sure knows how to be at the right at the right time with his 21 passes defended this season. He also offers value as a returner. Nelson will require a lot of coaching up to make him a more well-rounded corner but his skills are worth investing in as a mid-round pick.

Strengths

  • Despite not have the prototypical length of the position he is well built and has good speed and athleticism. Obligatory try him at safety comment?
  • Smooth out of his backpedal. Great short area quickness and recovery speed. Give opponents some slack but closes quickly to defend the pass.
  • Prolific production in passes defended over the last few years with 36 total.
  • Physical and irritates receivers in coverage. Instincts and vision are there. Times his jumps well on contested passes and fights for the ball.

Weaknesses

  • Tackling needs to be cleaned up a lot. Missed quite a few from what I saw.
  • Needs to be more physical at the LOS. Rarely gets a good jam into the receiver.
  • No career interceptions despite lots of opportunities. Are his hands that bad?

Let’s see his work:

More Nick Nelson videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

The Redskins are in the good spot at the cornerback position even with the probable departure of Bashaud Breeland. I image they will roll with Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Kendall Fuller, and Fabian Moreau as their top 4 corners with Josh Holsey as a reserve. The Redskins could stand to fill that spot vacated by Breeland with a promising but developmental pick like Nelson. Nelson can cover, we can all probably see that but he needs a lot of work with fundamentals. First and foremost his tackling since he will no doubt be asked to play special teams in his first few years. Second is probably cleaning up his catching technique as its clear it isn't natural to him. And lastly, its being more strategic and physical at the LOS and a few other small things. The Redskins are in a luxurious position related to the CB unit where they could have a guy like Nelson develop over the next couple years - possibly into a starter. They are not in a luxurious position as a team however and have more pressing needs to fill on defense especially with the first 3 picks of the draft. I think Nelson is going to be a good player we’ll see how the team prioritizes things in a few months.