Redskins: Five prospects to watch at 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl
By Ian Cummings
No. 5 – SMU S Patrick Nelson
Versatility is a coveted trait from defenders in the modern NFL, and that’s one thing SMU’s Patrick Nelson can bring to the table in high quantities.
Nelson is listed as a safety for the West team, but he produced on a multifaceted level with the Mustangs in 2019. Over thirteen games, the 6-foot-0, 216-pound redshirt senior logged 81 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, one interception, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble.
The Mustangs lined Nelson up all over the place in the back seven, which allowed him to use his traits to fulfill a multitude of roles. He won’t have the luxury of familiarity with his coaching staff at the Shrine Bowl, so it will be interesting to see how he matches up against safeties who might have better athletic profiles for the position. If Nelson keeps producing, in spite of the circumstances, then he could be worth a look from the Redskins later on in the draft.
Nelson is more of a chess piece than a true safety, of course. If you’re looking for potential safety replacements in the Shrine Game, there are a few players listed below who have that kind of upside.
Other Safeties to Watch: Alabama S Shyheim Carter, Michigan State S David Dowell, Pittsburgh S Damar Hamlin, Illinois State S Luther Kirk