Thoughts on the 4th round selection of the Oakland Raiders, Nick Nelson, CB out of Wisconsin.
With the 110th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, their original pick, the Oakland Raiders addressed another major need. With Nick Nelson, cornerback out of Wisconsin, the CB rooms gets a bit more crowded than it already is. Jon Gruden brought in a handful of veterans and also a pair of young guns, and Nelson is now added to the mix. Expect Training Camp to be quite the competition.
CB, Nick Nelson, Wisconsin for the Raiders. Now we're talking! Might be your starting nickel corner next year. Very fluid and physical corner who has great route recognition. Going to bat more balls than intercept, but rarely out of position and rarely gives up separation.
— Marcus Chai (@OaklandScout) April 28, 2018
Nelson is well-regarded in most draft circles, including being ranked as the 52nd overall player by Pro Football Focus. He was credited with an impressive 16 pass-breakups in 2017, and has 40 to his name for his collegiate career. But while he found himself breaking up a lot of passes, he failed to grab a single interception.
Part of the reason why Nelson fell to the 4th round is because of an injury he suffered during a pre-draft workout.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 28, 2018
Renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery, and he’s reportedly progressing well and should be good to go by camp.
Nelson is under 5’11”, but he’s well-built at 200 pounds. He also has short arms though, so he may be limited to being a slot CB at the next level. But don’t expect him to cover the shorter, speedy WRs that have given the Raiders trouble over the years because that’s not his game — he ran a 4.52 40-yard dash with average agility scores. He’s physical though and plays above his size, and press-man coverage is where he’ll be best.
Nick Nelson – Wisconsin
VERY Physical corner, special teams abilities, has good hips and burst. Raiders have the chance to add depth, and they really should. pic.twitter.com/c64zBk18m0
— Maliik (@Obee1ne) March 21, 2018
Raiders fans will appreciate his discipline, as he is a player who will rarely give up a big play.
Nick Nelson defending the stop and go like a pro. pic.twitter.com/4rAwSV7ogX
— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) February 17, 2018
Finding a punt returner is also a need, and Nelson will get a shot at that job in training camp.
Week 12 #B1G special teams player of the week?
— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) November 20, 2017
The downside of this pick is zero career interceptions, and his tendency to commit penalties. He was penalized for 183 yards on 12 pass interference/holding penalties in his last two seasons. Regarding the lack of interceptions, he does at least show the ability to breakup passes at a high level.
All in all, this one seems like the best value pick of the draft thus for the Raiders in a draft that has largely consisted of reaches.