The NFL’s Irish offensive lineup is getting stronger as Notre Dame’s left side offensive pair of Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson became two of the first 10 draft picks in NFL on Thursday evening. This is the first time in 27 years that the top-two offense men come from the same school. McGlinchey went to the San Francisco 49ers while Nelson went to the Indianapolis Colts, becoming the highest guard drafted since the year 1985.
In the past five years, four Irish offensive linemen have been selected in the NLF draft first round. They have now joined the ranks of Ronnie Stanley who went to the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 and Zack Martin who went to the Dallas Cowboys in 2014. The Colts traded back from no. 3 slot but quickly focused on Nelson. Chris Ballard reported that they were looking forward to including running back Saquon Barkley from Penn State, defensive end Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State and Nelson. The first two were gone by the time it was Colts’ pick but Nelson made it through.
Coach Frank Reich was also happy about his entry into the team. He said, “My first impression was that this is the best offensive lineman I’ve seen coming out in the draft in a while and just thinking about the first time talking to [Ballard] about this. Our mutual consensus was that this is where we’ve got to go. We want to build the fronts, and that’s what wins. We want to be dynamic in our skill positions in the pass game and in the coverage, but in the long run, you’ve got to be good up front to sustain and to get where you want to get to.”
Nelson has earned a unanimous All-American honor by starting 36 games, 13 of them were played in 2017 alone. Ballard attend his pro day as well, mostly because of proximity but he liked the way Nelson played in South Bend. He later said, “I could feel when I watched Adrian Peterson come out. I’ll never forget standing on the sideline and him running by me. Same thing with Dez Bryant. When Dez Bryant was at Oklahoma State, I’ll never forget a kid running by me, and I could feel it. You can feel Quenton Nelson the same way.”
Nelson commented on his feat, “I’m jacked up. My parents bought a house in Indiana when I committed to Notre Dame, and they don’t have to move. They’re going to go to every Notre Dame game on Saturday, and then be at my NFL games on Sundays. They’re jacked up.”
It is important to note that Nelson was picked first at no.6 while McGlinchey came in at no. 9. He being picked later by the teams show that football is changing and there is a strong need for left tackles and tackles in the team to help the quarterback’s blind sides. Both offensive and defensive tackles have become equally important for their respective teams.
It will be interesting to see how the changing tides bring a revolution in NFL gameplay.