Jersey tough, Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson is ready to take his fight to the next level.
"As a blocker, my mindset is being dominant," he told reporters at the NFL Combine this week. "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."
Nelson suffered a minor setback Friday, missing the 40-yard dash with a tweaked hamstring. But the 6'5", 325-pounder, who put up 35 reps of 225 pounds on Thursday, will assuredly be a top 10 selection in April's draft.
"I haven't really thought about if I'm the best player in this draft or not," he said. "I believe I'm the best offensive lineman and that's all I can control. That's all I could control in my four years of college is being the best I can be."
The Holmdel, NJ native, who attended Red Bank Catholic HS, became Notre Dame's first offensive lineman to win Team MVP since guard Al Wujciak in 1975 and only the third in school history. After participating on the scout team as a freshman, Nelson appeared in 37 contests between 2015-17. He was a dominant performer and some draft analysts believe Nelson is the cleanest prospect in the entire class.
"You talk to quarterbacks and they say if D-ends get on the edge, that's fine because they can step up in to the pocket and make a throw, which a lot of quarterbacks, if given the opportunity, can do that," he said. "That's what I give, a pocket to step up in and I think I also help the offense establish the run through my nastiness and establishing the run helps open up the passing game."
The Jets have the sixth overall selection and DL Leonard Williams (2015) and S Jamal Adams (2017) have slipped to them at that spot in two of the past three drafts. While Nelson believes he should be in the conversation before the Green & White select, it's conceivable he will be on the board later when they go on the clock.
"I think I should be talked about in that regard, the top-five conversation because you have guys that are dominating the NFL right now in Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins and Fletcher Cox that have been working on interior guys," he said. "You need guys to stop them and I think I'm one of those guys."