NAME: Zion Nelson
HOMETOWN: Sumter, SC
HIGH SCHOOL: Sumter
GAMES WATCHED: Florida State, Alabama
- 2019 (13 games): 13 starts with 2 penalties, 35 pressures allowed, and 12 sacks allowed.
- 2020 (10 games): 7 starts with 3 penalties, 10 pressures allowed, and 3 sacks allowed.
- 2021 (12 games): 12 starts with 5 penalties, 15 pressures allowed, and 3 sacks allowed.
Zion Nelson is a potential sleeper pick for the 2023 NFL Draft. Nelson does a lot of things right, but the few things he does wrong are limiting his potential. He is a very solid pass protector as a left tackle. He has some solid experience against some of the best pass rushers in college football. Nelson has decent speed on his get backs and there are not many times where a pass rusher beats him with their speed. He shows good leg drive but seems to struggle some with his upper body strength. His hand placement could be better: often his hands go wide near the shoulders, rather than staying near his chest. With his chest exposed, pass rushers are able to drive him back to collapse the pocket. Run blocking is average at best. He struggles to drive guys out of the play and stay connected to them. However, he does a good job of getting into space and moving to the second level with his blocks. He maybe could add just a little bit more weight, but overall it’s not a concern. His lateral movement is fairly average and he does not do well when defenders cross his face. Lastly, he is rarely asked to pull so there isn’t much there. Nelson has shown consistent improvement each year and I expect continued improvement in his senior year. He gets a 3rd round grade for me with the chance to jump into the second round.