As usual, most of the draft talk in 2007 is surrounding the top two quarterbacks,
but the highlight of this draft class could be the defensive backs.
There are a few that should be instant contributors and even more that could
be quality starters in time. Free safety Reggie
Nelson is at the top of college football coming off a National Championship
with the University of Florida and is at the top of the defensive back class.
Nelson truly is living his childhood dream. Coming from Melbourne, Fla., Nelson
was a two-time all-state high school player but went on to Coffeyville Community
College in Kansas. He was outstanding in Coffeyville and impressed when he transferred
At Florida, he had a solid first season in 2005 but was able to really step
it up last season. He showed off good hands with six interceptions on the year
and was one of the leading players on an impressive defense that allowed only
269 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game. In addition to the championship ring,
he won the Jack Tatum award, which is given to the top defensive back in college
Nelson's six interceptions show that he does have good hands. In addition to
that, he's the type of player who can make things happen when he does get his
hands on the ball. His 70-yard interception return for a touchdown should be
one of the clips shown for his highlight reel when he does get drafted. He wasn't
the top choice for the role, but he also saw some time as a punt returner, showing
his speed and versatility.
Nelson's versatility could be a key factor in determining his draft position.
There aren't too many teams with early picks who need a free safety, but Nelson
has said that he would be willing to switch to cornerback. Moving to cornerback
would work fine for Nelson since his size and style of play is more similar
to what coaches would want from a cornerback.
Whenever a team wins the National Championship like the Gators did, scouts
look for the team leaders. Even though it was his second year with Florida,
Nelson was part of the team's leadership committee and was definitely a locker
room presence. He was a crucial part of the team last season, and Florida head
coach Urban Meyer even stated that Nelson was the key to the defense.
Nelson is seen as a very talented athlete despite his disappointing performance
at the NFL Combine. He looked much better at Florida's
Pro Day, where, in addition to improvement on speed drills, he was described
as "nearly flawless" in agility drills.
Nelson was a little disappointing at the NFL Combine
when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. While this isn't horrible, it's
over a tenth of a second behind his main competition in the draft, free safety
LaRon Landry of Louisiana State. However, at
Florida's Pro Day, he was reported to have run the drill at a considerably faster
pace, clocking in at 4.35 seconds instead of the 4.48 he ran at the Combine.
Nelson's size is a major disadvantage. He has added some weight since the start
of the season but still only came in at 5-foot-11, 198 pounds. For comparison,
Landry came in at 6-foot, 213 pounds.
Nelson was particularly proud of his ability to contain the run but will have
trouble stopping some of the more physical backs at that size.
Nelson's lack of experience could be a factor, too. He's a transfer junior
who has played only two years of college ball. While he had a fantastic year
in 2006, his 2005 campaign wasn't anything too extraordinary.
Nelson is almost a guaranteed first-round pick. Landry seems to have the advantage
as far as being selected higher, so it's realistic to expect Nelson to fall
to the middle of the round, to the Pittsburgh Steelers
or Jacksonville Jaguars, most likely the Jags. After
losing safety Deon Grant and recent injuries to
Donovin Darius, the safety position is one of
concern for head coach Jack Del Rio's defense.
About KFFL Staff
KFFL, part of USA TODAY Sports, has been turning fantasy sports players into winners since 1996!
We are your one stop for all of your fantasy football, baseball, NASCAR, hockey and basketball needs all year long.
Don't miss these great reports....