But NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks says the Browns won’t get the chance to snag Nelson at No. 4 — because he thinks the New York Giants will snag him at No. 2.
Both released updated mock drafts Thursday, amidst a flurry of free agency activity that has reshaped many team needs.
Cowherd said Thomas’ retirement swayed his Browns’ pick, but did not seem to suggest that Nelson would replace Thomas on the outside:
They’re going to take a guy many believe is the can’t bust player in the draft, Quenton Nelson, interior offensive lineman from Notre Dame. Joe Thomas just retired, so I have changed my pick on Cleveland. They’re not going to put Sam Darnold behind an offensive line that just lost their Pro Bowl left tackle. They will upgrade. They got their receiver in Jarvis Landry. Now they’re going to give him a 10-year starter on the interior line. Quenton Nelson, the Cleveland number four. Denver at 5.
Brooks, meanwhile, said Nelson is an ideal compliment to the Giants recent signing of former New England Patriots tackle Nate Solder.
“I’m not a fan of taking a ‘pure’ guard in the Top 5 based on traditional position value but it’s sensible for the Giants to take Quenton Nelson at No. 2 with Nate Solder at LT. Those moves would quickly turn a weakness into a strength for [the] Giants,” Brooks tweeted Wednesday.
Brooks also added Mike McGlinchey, Nelson’s former battery mate on the Irish’s left side, to his second iteration after excluding him from his first mock draft in late January.
The NFL.com draft analyst said the Los Angeles Chargers will pick McGlinchey at No. 17 overall. “Rock-solid offensive tackle prospect provides more protection for Philip Rivers on the right side,” he wrote.
Cowherd only revealed his Top 11 on Thursday; it did not include McGlinchey.
One Foot Down has been tracking the positions of former Notre Dame players in mock drafts. Of the 46 we’ve tracked that were released in the last week, McGlinchey was paired:
- 9 times with the Cincinnati Bengals, although all of those came before the Bengals swapped their No. 12 pick for the Buffalo Bills’ No. 21 pick.
- 7 times with the Arizona Cardinals, who pick No. 15 overall
- 6 times with the aforementioned Chargers
- 3 times each with the Baltimore Ravens (No. 16), Seattle Seahawks (No. 18) and Minnesota Vikings (No. 30)
- once each with the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans
Three analysts said McGlinchey isn’t a first rounder and the fourth only announced his first ten picks (which did not include the former Irish tackle).
Nelson’s destinations are more finite. In the last week, he’s been paired:
- Nine times with the Chicago Bears (who hold the No. 8 pick), which would reunite him with former offensive line coach Harry Hiestand
- Eight times with the San Francisco 49ers, who have the No. 9 pick
- Seven times with the Denver Broncos, who are currently holding the No. 5 pick
- Six times with the N.Y. Giants, who are drafting No. 2
- Three times each with the Cleveland Browns (who hold picks No. 1 and No. 4) and the Indianapolis Colts (who have pick No. 3)
- Once each with the N.Y. Jets (No. 6), L.A. Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals.