Why The Bucs Should Draft Quenton Nelson

February 28th, 2018

Powerful Sage wisdom from Ira today as the NFL Scouting Combine begins. (No, that’s not a draft endorsement from Joe.)


Next man up.

That should be the mantra driving the Bucs at the 2018 NFL draft.

They should take the top-rated player remaining on the board, unless he’s a quarterback.

And that guiding principle brings us to a road-grader out of Notre Dame, who won’t be the most glamorous pick of the opening round. Who needs glamour? Buc fans crave production.

His name is Quenton Nelson, and Tampa Bay supporters need to get acquainted with this slab of a guard because he could be wearing pewter this fall.

That would make Jameis Winston very happy.

Many draft pundits don’t think Nelson will be available when the Bucs choose at No. 7, but NFL history suggests otherwise. Since 1996, only two guards have been selected within the first five picks – Leonard Davis and Jonathan Ogden.

A 10-year starter for Arizona and Dallas, Davis earned three Pro Bowl invitations. Not too shabby.

Ogden took it to another level., playing left guard during his rookie year with the Ravens before switching to left tackle. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013, his first year of eligibility.

I can’t assure Buc fans that Nelson is destined for a bust in Canton, but I’m starting to believe he is the best player in this draft.

Film Standout

Don’t just take my word for it.

“There will be some teams that just absolutely will not take a guard that high,” says ESPN’s Todd McShay. “But I haven’t talked to a guy in this league who doesn’t think Nelson is one of the five top players in this draft. Most guys have him in the top 3.”

Mel Kiper Jr. compares Nelson to Steve Hutchinson, who was a Hall of Fame finalist earlier this month. In Seattle, Shaun Alexander made a heck of a living running behind Hutchinson and Walter Jones, one of the great left sides in NFL history.

When Hutchinson departed for Minnesota, Alexander’s numbers took a nosedive.

Beastly Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson

Yes, the Bucs are desperate for a dynamic pass rusher off the edge. We all know that, but desperation can have a corrosive effect on logic when draft day arrives.

Given the choice, Tampa Bay should not take a defensive end over Nelson if Nelson’s rating is markedly better.

Nelson’s size, athleticism and physicality could have a dramatic impact on Tampa Bay’s offensive line. Plug him in at left guard and he immediately makes Donovan Smith a better player.

“I think when you look around the NFL today and see that there are more and more high-level interior pass rushers than there were five years ago, you know have to be strong across the offensive front,” says Mike Mayock of the NFL Network.

“Every top-level quarterback I’ve ever talked to told me that what they hate the most is immediate pressure up the middle. If they can step up into a pocket, they’re all happy.

“And that’s what Nelson is. He is a son of a bitch who is going to knock people down in the run game. I call him a people mover. He opens holes. For 330 pounds, his feet are pretty good. I think he can plug-and-play there for the next 10 or 12 years.”

Licht’s Puzzle

Memo to Jason Licht: don’t reach.

Go find the next Demarcus Lawrence, a second-round pick. Uncover the next Everson Griffen, selected in the fourth round. Search the bushes for the next Cameron Wake, who was undrafted and spent time in the CFL before landing with the Dolphins. Wake is still going strong, averaging 10 sacks during his 9-year tenure with Miami.

A year ago, the first guard off the draft board was Forrest Lamp, chosen by the Chargers with the 38th pick. Lamp’s rookie season was wrecked by a torn ACL. Nelson won’t wait nearly as long to hear his name called.

Nelson won’t rush the passer, but he could be a big piece of the puzzle going forward. Well before his first NFL snap, he has already caught the attention of Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison.

“I told anyone who would listen that this kid is going to be a star in the NFL for a very long time,” Harrison said in a tweet. “Has it all! I don’t like O-linemen, but this kid is a beast.”

This beast would look golden in pewter.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360. Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

67 Responses to “Why The Bucs Should Draft Quenton Nelson”

  1. doug p Says:

    I love this pick!! We have to solidify the trenches, that’s where the game is won and lost.

  2. LakeLand Says:

    How about finding the next Andrew Norwell, who went undrafted in 2014.

  3. ndog Says:

    I watched tape of the this kid and he got me pumped which saying a lot for a guard out of ND. He would be a fantastic pick, even though we need a DE much more, no one that knows football should be disappointed in his selection if it occurs.

  4. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    We need defense so bad, but I wouldn’t hate this at all

    As an FSU fan, I’m partial to Derwin (I think his stock will rise considerable after the combine)…I think he’s a guy who could potentially shut down Julio Jones as well as a guy like Greg Olson. After a year or two….even Ramsey and Rhodes weren’t All Pro their rookie years.

    That being said, I’m an FSU fan and watched probably close to every snap Derwin played. Most people think Minkah is a better player in the secondary and I’ll just have to take their word for it. The Bama games I watched though he didn’t really stand out.

    Either way, we should be getting a stud at 7. Hopefully Denver misses out on Cousins and we see 4 QB’s going ahead of us, leaving us with either Barkley, Nelson or Minkah

  5. mdsbuc Says:

    I’m with Ira and doug p above. I want Nelson in a bad way. I just hope he is still there at 7.

  6. Chris in WA Says:

    “Since 1996, only two guards have been selected within the first five picks – Leonard Davis and Jonathan Ogden.”

    Wasn’t Redskins Brandon Scherff taken with the 5th overall pick in 2015?

    Anyways it might not be a sexy pick but I love it! Build the trenches and the rest of the team improves.

  7. Rod Munch Says:

    Leonard Davis was a bust for Arizona, he later had success in Dallas however so his career looks OK, but that only happened once he left the team that drafted him. Since 2000 there’s been 3 guards drafted in the top 10, all 3 have been busts for the team that drafted them. I don’t think it’s a great idea to take a guard in the top 10. If that is scenario, if there really isn’t anyone worth picking, then the team should do everything it can to trade down to a team that wants a QB. I don’t buy the idea that Buffalo is giving up their two 1’s, but obviously if they did, that’s a no brainer. Even if the Bucs got less value than expected, so long as it’s something good (at least a 2nd and perhaps a 3rd to move into the bottom half of the draft) I’d probably do it. Yes the point chart says you should get more, but if they could turn a G into say a bit lower tier corner and d-lineman or center (moving Marpet back to G), that’s a win for the Bucs in my opinion.

  8. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    Mayock always gives a good review of things. Ira makes a compelling point and piece here for Nelson, and it is something the Bucs need. However, this piece is not in the context of all the larger pieces we also need, with a GM who is one Glazer boot on his way out the door…and MOST importantly, a resolution that we can preventively solve in FA with Norwell, Richburg, on and on perhaps as a good comparable, SO that we can keep that ripe #7 pick for a difference-maker like Barkley. Saquon would keep Jason’s job safe. Saquon would make Jameis’, Evans’, Djax, Koetter’s lifes easier, for sure. Take pressure off the defense through big change in time of possession.

    Gettleman said today that the #2 pick is open for business. When Cleveland takes Darnold at #1, get on the horn LICHT with 2019 1st and 3rd, 2020 3rd rounder to go from #7 to #2 for Saquon!

    That is 2018 context for all current parts of the Bucs.

    Go Bucs!

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Chris – Brandon Scherff played tackle in college I do believe.

  10. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:


  11. Chris in WA Says:

    Best defense is a good offense. Sustain drives and stop settling for Field goals instead put touchdowns on the board. Build a nasty line so Jamies stops getting caught with his pants down and fumbling the ball. Create holes for Peyton Barber and whatever running back we bring in this off-season. Keep this wretched defense off the field so they aren’t gassed by the fourth quarter.

    Nelson helps accomplish all of these.

  12. John meeks Says:

    I would love this pick!build the trenches on both sides and this team will win.this would be a great pick but we have to see what free agency brings.but,this kid is a beast!

  13. DB55 Says:

    The fact that you are just figuring this out is a bit concerning especially since you’re an expert. Yet we’ve been posting about Nelson for week but wtfdwk? Now you’re coming after Ira? LOL. –Joe

    Sign Irving from Dallas and draft Nelson. Easy peezy.

  14. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Draft Quenton Nelson!!!

  15. Lamarcus Says:

    Quentin Nelson. Pick 7. Just cuz Barkely or Chubb will be gone

  16. NFLNut Says:

    I love Quenton and have been raving about him for months … I know he’s just a guard and I understand Joe’s reticence to draft a mere guard with the #7 overall when the team can’t sack a QB to save its life, but this kid may be well worth it.

  17. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    This kid’s a rare breed for the position.
    And sure he’s been tossing around 6’5 300 pound kids like rag dolls the past 3yrs.
    But has that stopped us from judging other prospects equally? Since essentially they’re all playing against kids. Nope

    This kid’s work ethic & lunch pale mentality is very need on this soft a$$ team.
    He walks in day one – and automatically will earn the respect to wear a “C” on his chest.

    Like I said two years ago – he’s got perennial all-pro potential.

  18. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Weapons for Winston. If this guy is a 7-10 year plug and play you can’t pass him up.

  19. Capt.Tim Says:

    That would be a stupid pick.
    Perfect for a stupid team.
    This team had a good OLine, maturing into a great line.
    But then, The Buc stupidity bug struck.
    Lets take our soon to be Probowl right guard,and move him to a position of lesser value!! Lets Move Ali to a position he has NEVER PLAYED!!
    Yeah- thats really stupid!!good job Buc coaches and management! Way to wreck the line!
    With that kind of ignorance- does it matter who we draft?

    They wanted Sweezy in the lineup. Start him at Left Guard.
    If you want to move someone,emove the versatile Kevin Pamphile.
    Hes more quick than Brawler, has played Center before- and could own the spot for a decade.

    Then you have Pamphile at Center, Marpet and Sweezy at guard, Smith and Dotson/Benenoch at Tackle.
    And if Pamphile struggles- you draft a center. The best ones can be had in rounds 4-6.

    This team didnt lose all last season, because of our guards.
    We lost because of our DEs and Our RBs.
    And thats what we better draft.
    Trade up, trade down- whatever
    DE and RB
    Then we can draft a Cb, Center, Safety, and DE.

    If that first round pick isnt a DE, it better be RB

  20. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Quenton Nelson would great pick period.

  21. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Your the same dude that was talking bad about Aaron Donald before the draft.
    How did that workout? lol

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    So let’s see if I’ve got this right Ira. Bucs’ defense ranked 23rd against the run using YARDS AGAINST as the criteria, and 30th if you use RUSHING TDs AGAINST as the criteria. Got it.

    And in your own words, ““Every top-level quarterback I’ve ever talked to told me that what they hate the most is immediate pressure up the middle.” Got it.

    Wouldn’t BOTH of those seem to indicate that the Bucs need to strengthen the INTERIOR of their DLine? DT or NT? Draft a beastly interior DLineman like Vea (or Payne) and immediate pressure up the middle has to improve. So would our ability to stop the runs up the middle, which ate us alive last year.

    But oh ya, we can surely get a ‘decent’ interior DLineman someplace in the 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th rounds. Oh wait, we’ve already got Stevie T & Siliga. My bad … problem solved.

  23. BucEmUp Says:

    Sign Irving from Dallas, get three corners in FA (including Brent Grimes) and draft Nelson.

    I’m not so convinced they need a pass rusher that bad, I think a new defensive scheme will solve most of this teams problems very quickly.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    @Lakeland … “How about finding the next Andrew Norwell, who went undrafted in 2014.” Or let’s look behind door #2 Lakeland and SIGN ANDREW NORWELL in 2018. Then our LG problem would be solved AND we’d still have our #7 pick to spend on DEFENSE. The other 3 teams in our division have very good defenses AND offenses. We play them SIX times a year. We have no choice but to improve our defense significantly if we expect to at least break even with them and escape the NFC South cellar.

  25. DB55 Says:

    Now you’re coming after Ira? LOL. –Joe
    Not at all impressed but I’m just a troll so what’s it really matter.

    He said Dotson was a great player bc he sticks around to speak to the media, laughable at best.

  26. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Per: Koetter

    “When you get down there — you can spin these stats any way you want – how does an offensive team lead the league in first downs, fourth in the league in third downs but 24th in red zone scoring? You have to score points!

    “Whether it is on your first drive or you might be in the red zone three or four times a game, you have to get over that 60 percent [touchdowns in the red zone]. Points are points wherever they come.”

    This Team is softer then the center of Twinky; Up the middle.
    Pick-Up a couple maulers like Quenton Nelson– and watch how things turnaround.

  27. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    I just don’t see this man beast slipping past 5……

    My guess is Denver or the Browns will draft him.

    I hope it’s not the browns—-cause the brownies like destroying football players careers.

  28. SteveK Says:

    He’s my 3rd choice behind Chubb and Barkley.

    I’d take Nelson over Minkah.

    What about the last G from Notre Dame, Zach Martin?

    I hear Nelson is better than he was coming out to the NfL.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Looking Back (Rivals Mike Farrell): Quenton Nelson

  30. SteveK Says:


    Great point. Nelson is the O line impact prospect like Aaron Donald was! Draft the unicorn, especially a trench unicorn.

  31. LUVMYBUCS Says:



  32. DanBucsFan Says:

    Leave Marpet at center, draft nelson at 7, sign Norwell free agency. I would think that would give us a top 5 Oline for years to come and help fix the trenches. Barber, and whoever else is at Rb will put up great numbers behind that line, and Winston will be protected very nicely.

  33. SB Says:

    After the Combine Marcus Davenport will be rated as high as Chubb. We will probably be drafting Davenport.

  34. SteveK Says:

    You got it Dan!

    We need trench warriors.

  35. DanBucsFan Says:

    We need to bring in some nasty , mean, physical linemen. No more nice guys, we have enough “nice guys” on our team. I know Dline pass rushers is our most glaring need, and I am thinking our Oline is not as far off as some may think. But our guards are weekest links, Nelson, and Norwell would be instant upgrades and then poof Oline set for several years.

  36. unbelievable Says:

    Thinking the same thing LUV.

    I know DE is a bigger need, but our o-line was garbage at run blocking last year. I say, bring in the damn mauler!

    We need to make both our lines nasty! Too fkn soft, for too fkn long!

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If we didn’t need DE so bad, I would support this…but…

  38. darin Says:

    He is definitely top 3. Which is why he might not be there at 7. My preference is chubb then nelson. Only because the huge need at DE. Nelson is the better of the 2. Now I’m doubting either is there at 7. Hopefully Licht can trade back if so. Knowing him tho he will trade up to 6 and snag davenport, the “guy he wanted all along”.

  39. DanBucsFan Says:

    @Bonzai….. I agree buddy, but we have to upgrade where we can at the moment. There are not many options available on Dline, but at least we should be able to solidify our Oline.

  40. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    Ira, you are preaching it, man! I love what you are saying here.

    My absolute dream scenario is for the Bucs to sign top prize Andrew Norwell in free agency (look at the reports today, naysayers – looks like the Panthers are letting him go) AND drafting Nelson.

    Can you imagine an interior line of Norwell, Marpet, and Nelson? The Bucs could spend the rest of free agency and the draft stockpiling defensive line help without reaching or trading up unnecessarily – as Ira so astutely pointed out.

    The opportunity is there for the Bucs to make ridiculous strides along both lines – which is the absolute key for this offseason.


  41. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Davenport waaay to raw.

    Ezekiel Ansah played against better competition – and was more polished coming out of college.

    Never but to much stock in “workout warriors”

    -Mike Mamula
    -Vernon Gholston
    -Johnathan Sullivan
    -Derrick Harvey
    -Tony Mandarich
    Etc, etc, etc.

  42. Tony from Los Angeles Says:


    You’re preaching it right! Norwell and Nelson. Let’s hope Licht sees the light!

  43. LakeLand Says:

    Vernon Gholston,

    Will Gholston cousin hmm

  44. SteveK Says:

    Drafting by “need” is the best way to hold our spot as the “4th best” in the division.

    The only way we dig out of this mess is by drafting BPA and building it right.

  45. gotbbucs Says:

    If Nelson is there, it’s a no-brainer. He will be All-Pro as a rookie. His college game tape is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

  46. SteveK Says:


    Spot on!

  47. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Never *put to much stock into workout warriors

  48. JonBuc Says:

    Selecting a guard with the 7th pick is less sexy than Lee D. in a wrestling singlet. The action will be at # 5 with Denver…who wisely lost a meaningless game against KC to a rookie QB in his first start.

  49. Jarod lauderdale Says:

    If you have to solidify the trenches & chubb is gone then this is the exact pick bucs make.. The Sony in rd 2..then all defence rest of draft and in FA.. Period

  50. NFLNut Says:


    I think he’s gone by Denver’s pick as well … I’m actually thinking the Giants trade down to #4 and take him

    1. Browns: Saquon Barkley
    2. Browns (trade up with Giants): Sam Darnold
    3. Colts: Bradley Chubb
    4. Giants: Quenton Nelson
    5. Bills (trade up with Broncos): Josh Rosen
    6. Jets: Baker Mayfield
    7. Cardinals (trade up with BUCS): Josh Allen

    Bucs in Cardinals current slot = Best CB or DT or DE available … I could also see the Bucs standing pat at #7 and taking Minkah, Ward or even Joshua Jackson but I think the Cardinals pony up to move up for Josh Allen and the Bucs wisely trade down.


  51. Pickgrin Says:

    Chubb would be our ideal pick. But Nelson is likely a “safer” pick as well as a greater talent for his position.

    Let’s not kid ourselves folks – OG is a real need for this Buccaneers team.

    If Chubb ain’t on the board – Quenton Nelson all day long! If both are gone – trade down – even if the trade value isn’t perfect.

  52. Pepsi Says:

    Draft Nelson, sign a guard or center. Keep Marpet at center or move him to Guard depending on which one we signed. And we finally have one elite unit, and one of the most important units in the game. This will make every phase of the offense hum. Yea the defense is the much bigger weakness, but I don’t think it can be totally fixed this year. We can draft with the intention of fixing the defense but it would sacrifice the near certainty of being able to create a dominant offense from this offseasons potential acquisitions

  53. WutdaBucisthis Says:

    Damn Ira…this article sucks…hell no to Nelson. Draft Vea!!!
    I agree with @Defenserules…your racing nowhere fast

  54. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    This guy will be off the board by the time we pick as well as Chubb and Minkah Fitzpatrick. I’m honestly telling look for Derwin James to be selected by the Bucs. They are going to address the holes in the line through free agency just not with big budget guys. my guess is Nelson will not be on the board at #7

  55. Capt.Tim Says:

    You must have a really great memory.
    I dont remember ever saying anything derogatory about Aaron Donald.

    I’ll see if I can review the archives- but I dont think that was me

  56. Capt.Tim Says:

    But if you gotta go that far back- I must have one sweet record on the draft!

  57. Capt.Tim Says:

    Aaron Donald was drafted in 2014. Thats a heck of a memory.
    But Why would I be talking about Donald anyway?
    The Bucs already had Gerald McCoy!! Even in the 2024 draft- We didnt need another 3 technique!!
    We needed DEs- yup, even back then

  58. Capt.Tim Says:


  59. BringBucsBack Says:

    “…desperation can have a corrosive effect on logic when draft day arrives.” (…OR any other time!)

    This sign is clearly NOT hanging up in the Bucs’ GM office or war-room!

    This kid is a Manimal but, I suspect that if Nelson is available, Licht will, in an effort to save his job, reach for a pass-rusher and grab a light-framed OLB suited for a 3-4 that becomes injury-prone. (See Noah Spence). Yea!

  60. Mike Johnson Says:

    Somebody here says Best Defense is a great Offense? Ok..you keep beleiving that crap. Again what good is scoring 40 when your oppoment scores 41? Bucs simply have to many..immediate needs on Defense. That is..IF..Koetter and Smitty are trying to keep their jobs. Hopefully we trade down with Arizona. We would never be in this position had the Bucs just stuck with what got them their 1st Superbowl in the 1st place…DEFENSE>

  61. Maddognavy Says:

    Trenches yes, Defensive not Offensive. If they don’t grab Vea they are nuts. But we did draft a Kicker in the second round so, we’ll see

  62. Mr. Ed Says:

    The Bears have Nelson’s former position coach from Notre Dame and they pick right behind the Bucs. Wonder what Licht could get from the Bears to switch spots. If it’s a number 2 so Bears could have Nelson, do it and cackle all the way to the second round with the guy Licht would probably take in the first round anyway. I doubt the Bucs have Nelson in their top 10, since they seem to feel their OL is great.

  63. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Capt.Tim: (Known JBF Aliases)
    • Capt.Tim,Back from Davie Jones’s Locker
    • Back, from Davie Jones Locker

    Back, from Davie Jones Locker Says:
    May 4th, 2014 at 5:52 am <-

    Aaron Donald- 6’1″, 285#

    Great in college, physically overwhelmed in the NFL
    The don’t call it “the Big Leagues” for nothing.
    He is just too small, with a maxed out Frame.
    We draft him, then go ahead and add him to our huge list of 1st round failures.

    I know there are scouts, mock Drafters, Etc- who will tell you he is big enough.
    He isn’t. The NFL isn’t that complicated. If you play DT in the trenches, you will be facing frequent double teams from 320# guards/centers. Most around 6’4″ and up.

    He won’t be able to do any of the things he did in college.
    Sad, but true

  64. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Use of the same name variance.
    Plus standard dislike for short players. I assumed it was U.
    My bad if it was not Sir.

  65. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Here’s the blog post for reference.

    Polian Says It’s Aaron Donald At No.7
    May 3rd, 2014

  66. Crabberbill Says:

    I love Nelson too but I don’t think he will be there at #7? I would love Chubb first because of need but he probably won’t be there either. I think we should draft Vita Vea!! I’ve seen Gruden drafting him and that would be terrible! I wanted to draft Donald back in 14 too. I love Jerald Mccoy and Clinton Mcdonald to be the starters and rotate him between the two. He can play DE too,lol!! Football is won at the lines in the trenches!! Vita Vea is going to be the next Sapp/ Mccoy? Donald!! Fix the defense now!!

  67. unbelievable Says:

    LUV is like the jedi master of JBF comments