No. 2 AFC South player the Jaguars would like to steal: Quenton Nelson, OG
Garrett Powell of CBS Sports recently argued that the gap between the Indianapolis Colts and the AFC South defensive champions Jacksonville Jaguars might not be as wide as observers suggest. However, Powell's optimism is a bit misguided.
Indy does talented players on their roster but in the same manner, they have lots of question marks. linebacker Shaquille Leonard and running back Jonathan Taylor were some of the most dominant players at their respective positions not long ago but injuries held them back last year and it's fair to wonder if they'll be 100 percent in 2023.
Similarly, wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. is good but not a true No. 1. With teams devoting lots of attention to stopping him, he might have a hard time getting lots of opportunities next season. Then, there's quarterback Anthony Richardson.
While there's no denying that Richardson is one of the most intriguing talents to come out of the collegiate ranks in a while, he might need a year or two before he puts it all together. Maybe he'll be ready sooner than expected but projecting him to play at a high level in his rookie season might be too much to ask.
So which player from the Colts roster then, should the Jaguars steal if given the chance? All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson is the answer despite the fact that he's coming off a somewhat down year.
Nelson, a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, was the highest-ranked guard in the NFL's top 100 list last year. Furthermore, he was named First-Team All-Pro as a rookie, which isn't common for first-year players. If that wasn't enough, he's only given up more than 20 total pressures in a season just once in his career (31 last year) and has allowed just four sacks (yes, four) in his first four NFL seasons.
With Ben Bartch still recovering from a knee injury he suffered last year, Nelson would be a huge upgrade at left guard in 2023.