Redskins 7-Round Mock Draft: Pre-free agency edition 2020
Round 7, Pick 2: LB/S Patrick Nelson, SMU
Hybrid players are becoming more and more important at the NFL level. And that description would fit Patrick Nelson to a tee.
Nelson played some safety during his time at SMU but he also played linebacker and for a good reason. He’s a great pass rusher.
During his final year at school, Nelson logged a ridiculous 12.5 sacks. He was as productive of a blitzer as there was in all of college football, and it’s hard to teach pass rushing instincts from linebacker and defensive back positions. That should translate to the NFL level depending on what position he’s able to play.
Nelson is 6-feet-even and 216 pounds so he has the size of a safety. But he’s more of a linebacker-type player at the next level. That makes him a positional tweener as he doesn’t have the size to be a three-down linebacker but he doesn’t have the coverage skills needed to be a full-time safety.
But what Nelson could offer as a coverage/blitzing linebacker is interesting. The Redskins could find the best way to utilize him and try to make things work with him. There’s no risk with taking a productive player like Nelson at this point in the draft. They can focus on his strengths and try to find a spot for him at the next level. And if they can’t, then they can part with him easily.
The seventh-round is all about upside. And that’s something that Nelson certainly has.