University of Southern Mississippi tight end Shawn Nelson will enter the NFL draft after a very successful career for the Golden Eagles. The three-time All-Conference USA honoree had a solid senior season by catching 53 passes for 557 yards and three touchdowns. He has been consistent throughout his collegiate career, starting all four years and averaging 513.5 receiving yards and four touchdowns per season. Football runs in his family: Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and Nelson are cousins.
- Very fast, ran the second fastest 40-yard dash time among tight ends at 4.56
- Good height for his position (6-foot-5)
- Excellent athlete
- Has great hands
- Can be lined up all over the field
- Not a great blocker
- Route-running skills are decent at best
- Needs to gain weight (240 pounds)
- Drops too many easy passes
- Limited ceiling
Expected draft placement
The only tight end in the draft that is clearly better than Nelson is Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew. Aside from Pettigrew, who is likely a first-round draft pick, Nelson may be the second-best choice out there for teams in need of a tight end.
Teams that might show interest include the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, all teams which could seriously use the help of a pass-catching tight end. The Bills could consider Nelson early in the third round (75th overall), but depending on how things work out on draft day, he could fall as far as the Cardinals at the end of the fourth round (127th overall).
About Ben Rubin
Ben Rubin has been a KFFL contributor since 2007.
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