Former Red Bank Catholic star offensive lineman Quenton Nelson was selected with the No. 6 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Nelson, who was a first-team All-American guard at the University of Notre Dame, was considered one of the top-five overall players in the draft and the top offensive lineman. The Colts originally held the No. 3 pick in the draft before a March trade with the New York Jets moved them back to the No. 6 spot. With franchise quarterback coming back from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the entire 2017 season, protecting him up front was of high priority.

"My first impression was, 'This is the best offensive lineman I've seen coming out of the draft in a while," Colts head coach Frank Reich told the Indianapolis Star. "I was just thinking about the first time talking to Chris (Colts general manager Chris Ballard) about this, and our mutual consensus was, 'This is where we have to go. We have to build the fronts'."

"He's demanding," Ballard told the Indianapolis Star. "He'll be demanding of his teammates to perform, and he'll be demanding of himself to perform. His football character is off the charts. He's nasty, he's tough, he's everything we want to stand for as a team."


 

Nelson is the highest draft pick ever from the Shore Conference. Former Middletown South and University of Georgia running back was selected No. 12 overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2009 NFL Draft. Nelson is the sixth Shore Conference player to be selected in the first round, joining Moreno, Donald Brown (Red Bank Catholic/University of Connecticut), Art Thoms (Brick/Syracuse), Jim Jeffcoat (Matawan/Arizona State) and Jason Peter (Middletown South/Nebraska).

"I really had no idea when I was going to be picked, to be honest," Nelson said when he met with members of the Indianapolis media. "I knew I was going to be a Colt when I felt my phone buzzing in my hand and saw an Indianapolis area code, and everyone went nuts. It was an amazing time."

Nelson hailed from Holmdel and spend his freshman year with the Hornets before transferring to Red Bank Catholic and authoring a dominant career with the Caseys. His family moved to Indiana when Nelson left for Notre Dame and he watched the draft from their home about three hours away from Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts' home field.

"I'm jacked up," Nelson said. "My parents bought a house in Indiana when I committed to Notre Dame, and they don't have to move. And they're going to go to every Notre Dame game on Saturday, and then be at my NFL games on Sundays. And they're jacked up. I'm super excited, and I can't wait to stay in Indiana and play in Lucas Oil Stadium."

Nelson is a plug-and-play pick who should step in and start immediately to give the Colts an instant and significant upgrade on the offensive line.

“I definitely feel like I’m a guy that can come in and start from Day 1," Nelson said. "And I’m just looking forward to meeting the other offensive linemen that we have — (Anthony) Castonzo, Ryan Kelly, Jack Mewhort – and getting to work with them to establish the type of offensive line that we can be. They’re all great players, and I know once we are all on the same page, we can pick up a lot of blitzes and establish a run game and get the ball rolling in Indianapolis.”

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.

 

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