Wide Receiver - Kansas State
Combine Height: 6-3
Combine Weight: 217
Combine 40 Time: 4.49
Caught 122 balls (a school and conference record) for 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games.
Those who had Nelson pegged as a possession receiver may have been caught off guard by his 4.49 40 at the Combine. Sure, Nelson has great hands and very nice size for a wide receiver, but he brings a little more to the table as well; ask Aqib Talib about Nelson’s game speed, for example. The good news is that Nelson actually started his college career as a safety and is still learning the nuances of the wide receiver position. The better news is that his work ethic suggests he’ll put in whatever effort necessary to elevate his game to the next level. As a former safety he has no fear about going over the middle, and his great hands will make him a favorite target on third downs. He’s athletic enough to get on the field right away as a third receiver, plus he’ll contribute immediately in the return game. And, if he continues to work at his craft he could provide some fortunate passing game with a big, fast, and reliable target.
The fact that teams can put Nelson to work immediately on special teams should help his draft stock. So, too, will his size, as plenty of teams already have quick little guys but could use a larger target to throw to as well. The Titans, Colts, and Giants could jump on Nelson late in round two, but it’s more likely he’ll go off the board in the third round. The Chiefs have multiple opportunities in Round Three, while the Bills, 49ers, Bengals, Eagles and Redskins could all make a play for Nelson as well.
Nelson will need some time to hone his craft at the NFL level, so it’s tough to pencil him into a starting lineup right away. That said, a guy with his hands and size is too good a target not to be put to use in third down and red zone situations. Seeing as Nelson brings some return skills to the table as well, he should get on the field as a rookie. Pushing him into your fantasy lineup, however, may be a bit premature. While he has upside in dynasty leagues, especially if you pick him up at a bargain-basement price this early in his career, his impact in redraft leagues will be minimal.