Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive guard Quenton Nelson met with members of the Indianapolis media after being selected sixth overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
Were you surprised by the pick? How did you feel about Indianapolis entering this week?
“I was definitely a little surprised by the pick. I met with Chris Ballard and (Dave DeGuglielmo) at my pro day, and I had a great conversation with them. But they definitely kept it away from me a good amount that I was going to be their pick. And I was surprised and ecstatic and so happy to be their pick at No. 6 and play for this organization and this team.”
At what point did you get a better sense that you were going to be the pick?
“I really had no idea when I was going to be picked, to be honest. I knew I was going to be a Colt when I felt my phone buzzing in my hand and saw an Indianapolis area code, and everyone went nuts. It was an amazing time.”
Who was on the line? Who talked to you initially?
“[General manager] Chris Ballard did.”
For those who haven’t seen you play, how would you describe your playing style?
“I would say that I’m a very nasty offensive lineman that wants to finish his man every play, whether it’s in the run game or the pass game. And I want to work together with the whole o-line and have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and protect one of the best quarterbacks in the game and establish a great run game.”
How excited are you to continue your career in the state where you played college ball?
“I’m jacked up. My parents bought a house in Indiana when I committed to Notre Dame, and they don’t have to move. And they’re going to go to every Notre Dame game on Saturday, and then be at my NFL games on Sundays. And they’re jacked up. I’m super excited, and I can’t wait to stay in Indiana and play in Lucas Oil Stadium.”
The Colts have had offensive line issues for years. Are you aware of that? And do you feel like you’re a guy who can come in and start from Day 1?
“I definitely feel like I’m a guy that can come in and start from Day 1. And I’m just looking forward to meeting the other offensive linemen that we have — (Anthony) Castonzo, Ryan Kelly, Jack Mewhort – and getting to work with them to establish the type of offensive line that we can be. They’re all great players, and I know once we are all on the same page, we can pick up a lot of blitzes and establish a run game and get the ball rolling in Indianapolis.”
Guards, with all due respect, just don’t usually go in the top six. Why is that changing now? Do you think people are realizing the importance of interior line play?
“Yeah, I would say three-techs are getting more athletic each and every year, and they’re being very disruptive in the run game and the pass game with pressures and sacks. So the value for offensive guards has gone up.”
Where did you watch the draft?
“I was at my lake house in Indiana, about two hours, 45 minutes away from Lucas Oil Stadium, with a bunch of friends, family and teammates from Notre Dame. And it was incredible.”
Coach Reich said he was really impressed with what he saw from you as a puller. How much pride did you take in that part of your game?
“You know, I take pride in every aspect of my game, and I just never want to be the guy that lets down the unit — the offensive line, especially — and the whole offense. So blocking my guy every play and the fear of being the guy that lets down the unit is what helps me get the job done at the end of the day.”
You said at the combine that you want to take away the opponent’s will to play. Is that the mentality you’re going to bring here to Indianapolis?
“Yeah, I’m going to fight every day and play my hardest and try to keep improving every single day. I’m really excited, because I know all the guys on the offensive line are great guys and great players. I’m really excited to get to work with them, and like I said, get this ball rolling.”
There was some talk that you might go in the top three or top five. Did you feel like there was a chance you might go at No. 2 to the Giants or at No. 4 to the Browns?
“Nah, I didn’t really think I would go at No. 2 to the Giants, and then I haven’t really talked to the Browns at all, so that would’ve been a huge shock if I went there. And then I had a feeling the Jets were going to take a quarterback, and the Browns were going to take a quarterback. And then, five, I thought they’d go with (Bradley) Chubb, and then I was shocked when I got the call at six, but obviously completely happy, ecstatic and overjoyed. Like it was such an incredible moment with all these people here that helped me get to where I am today, and all being super happy for me. And I’m so thankful.”
The Colts are in a place where they’re kind of rebuilding and resetting – new coach, new scheme and all that. You’re their first first round pick under that scenario. That suggests that you’re one of the biggest building blocks. What does that say to you? And what do you think about being a part of that process?
“I think it says that I need to work really hard and set the tone for our draft class and just set the example every day of how hard you need to work. And I’m sure there’s a bunch of guys on the team that already do that, but I’m going to do my part and keep my head down and learn from the veterans and just do my best every single day.”
What do you think of Andrew Luck? What do you think of his game? Have you met him before?
“I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him before, but I know he’s a great guy and a great quarterback, and I’m looking forward to protecting him and giving my all to him every single play, and getting on the same page with the o-line so we can protect him as best as possible. And, yeah, I’m super excited.”
Jacked up to be an Indianapolis Colt! So happy and thankful I got to celebrate with all the… https://t.co/vQusSN912K— Quenton Nelson (@BigQ56) April 27, 2018
“I’M A COLT BABY!!!” -@BigQ56 pic.twitter.com/2xFML6CHkH— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) April 27, 2018