Spring Performance -- Nelson flew under the radar during his first spring camp but quietly put on a solid, consistent show. The redshirt freshman got opportunities to develop and was a competitive option in spring scrimmages. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood went with Chris Muller and J.J. Denman first when looking to improve the run game, but used Nelson as an efficient second- and third-team option in the spring game.
Expected 2013 Role -- Nelson can play center or guard and likely practices in both roles during training camp. He needs more time to develop before seeing major playing time but is a legitimate interior option behind the starters. Nelson can plug into multiple spots if there are injury problems.
Scouting Report -- Nelson brings mobility and strength to guard. He brings quickness off the ball and improved his strength during his first year at Rutgers. Nelson does a good job pulling on run plays and getting to the second level to initiate blocks. He has refined footwork in the run game and opened holes for the reserve running backs in spring scrimmages.
Though stronger, improvement is still needed in the weight room for Nelson to become a starter. Coming from a run-dominant high school, pass blocking is new to Nelson and an area for improvement. He makes the right reads and limits penalties as a cerebral player, but simply needs more experience to fine-tune his technique and compete against more complex interior blitzes.
The Bottom Line -- Nelson can be the kind of nasty run blocker Rutgers needs moving into the Big Ten, but he remains raw and needs more time before he reaches his peak. An extra month of college made a big difference last year, so a full year going into training camp will make things interesting.