6-5/242 Southern Miss
Pros: Has nice hands and does a good job after the catch, reminiscent of a wideout at times. Moves well and has the speed to stretch the defenses. Gets a good release. Has good pop off the snap as a blocker and gets good position. Locks onto defender and blocks much better than size merits. Does a good job blocking on the move and able on the second level. Does well on the short routes.
Cons: Needs to get stronger and bigger as a blocker.
Overview: Nelson is a solid all-around player. A good receiver that is an underrated blocker. Was suspended for the first half of a game in 2006 for violating curfew. Pulled out of Senior Bowl because of a hamstring injury.
NFL Forecast: Nelson is a player that I think can consistently catch 50+ passes a year and will be a playmaker. He's got to improve as a blocker, but I think that would only require him to put on another 10 or so pounds. But he's not going to be a liability as a blocker. I thought he was a better player a year ago than Dustin Keller, and considering how well Keller played this past year with the Jets, I think you can understand the starting off potential for Nelson. He may not be an elite tight end, but the type of guy that has a long productive career like a Ben Coates or Tony Gonzalez.
ATL Forecast: Nelson definitely can provide an upgrade in the passing game. His ability to stretch defenses and make plays after the catch make him a good option for the Falcons. He's a capable blocker that he wouldn't be a liability working inline, although initially he would probably start out at H-back. But he'll be given time to develop as a blocker, and meanwhile could be a guy that can catch 30-40 passes each year in the offense, and be a playmaker in the redzone. He's not as big as Crumpler, nor has his ability as a blocker, but would be a similar factor in the passing game.
Value: If Keller is a late first round pick, then Nelson certainly is as well. Would not be a reach late in the first, although you'd probably want to get optimal value as an early-to-mid second rounder.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
BODY CONTROL: 4.0
Scouting Reports of tight ends in the 2009 NFL Draft.
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