He's bigger than receivers DeSean Jackson (California) and Devin Thomas (Michigan State). He ran a faster 40-yard dash than wideouts Limas Sweed (Texas), Mario Manningham (Michigan), Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma) and Lavelle Hawkins (California). He had more catches and yards receiving than any other player in the 2008 NFL Draft - he's likely to be available in the middle rounds of the draft. He is Kansas State University wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
Redshirted in 2003, Nelson did not play in 2004 as a safety for the Wildcats. He was moved to receiver in 2005 and started 11 games, catching 45 passes for 669 yards and eight touchdowns. His performance dipped in 2006 as he caught 39 passes for 547 yards and just one touchdown. Then came 2007.
Nelson burst onto the national scene his senior year, grabbing 122 passes for 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns. His reception and yardage totals were second in the Football Championship Subdivision behind only Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. During his monstrous senior season, Nelson set 11 different Kansas State receiving records, was a consensus All-Big 12 and All-American first-team selection, as well as a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award (given to the nation's top collegiate receiver). He is far from the sexiest name at the position and could see 10 or more receivers go before him on draft day. However, his production cannot be ignored, and he could provide the team that selects him with unexpected production.
As one would expect coming off of a season with 120-plus receptions, Nelson has good hands and is a reliable pass catcher. He does a nice job snatching the ball in traffic and can go up to get it as well. He runs crisp routes and is quick out of his breaks.
Nelson has good size (6-foot-2 1/2, 217 pounds) and decent speed - he posted an official 40-yard dash time 4.51 at the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine. Nelson also has good agility, strength and balance, giving him the ability to get yards after the catch.
He's a smart player, extremely hard worker and tough athlete.
Despite his surprisingly good combine numbers, Nelson lacks the acceleration and burst of a burner. He may struggle to get vertical in the pros and will likely be more of a "move-the-sticks" wideout than a deep threat.
Nelson is still fairly new to the receiver position and will have to continue to refine his technique. His senior season helped boost his stock, but he's had only one really productive season in college to go on. Nelson, who possesses good size, also needs to get better as a blocker to become a more complete receiver.
Expected Draft Placement
While it's difficult to project players that are unlikely to come off the board until the middle rounds, there are number of teams that could use Nelson's services. Teams like the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins could look to someone like Nelson if they opt not to take a receiver in the first few rounds. Other teams that could be in the market for another receiver include the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers.
About Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson is a college student at Georgia State University currently majoring in journalism. Chris has been playing fantasy baseball and football for nearly a decade. He one day hopes to be a beat writer for the Miami Dolphins while eventually reaching the pinnacle of sports journalism, that being the ability to write about coffee, traveling, kids softball and whatever else he wants, all the while being paid good money by a national publication to do it. He has been a KFFL contributor since 2006.
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