clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Garrett Nelson NFL Draft Scouting Report

Can Nelson Make the Jump to the NFL

Nebraska v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The heart and soul of the Nebraska defense the past couple of years, Garrett Nelson declared for the 2023 NFL Draft after a productive career that saw lead the Huskers in sacks each of the past two seasons. How will Nelson translate to the NFL? Here is a look at my Garrett Nelson NFL Draft Scouting Report.


Height: 6’3

Weight: 249

Hand: 9 ¾”

Arm: 32 ⅝”

Wingspan: 77 ⅜”


Trait Grade: 6.4/10 (Average)

Projection Grade: 4.0/10 (Camp Invite/Developmental League)

Projection: Undrafted Free Agent


  • Quick burst allows him to gain an advantage against the offensive lineman
  • Non stop motor allows him to make plays when you think he has no shot
  • Strong tackler who is able to wrap up and bring the ball carrier down
  • Burst and tenacity can allow him to generate power
  • Able to get underneath defenders to free himself in the run game


  • Gets pushed around too often in the run game
  • Lacks the athletic ability and speed to beat offensive tackles
  • Struggles to shed blocks and can get caught up too easily
  • Doesn’t have the heavy hands or technique to consistently win with his hands as a pass rusher


With Garrett Nelson you know that he’s going to give you everything he has play in and play out. And because of that he was able to make several tackles and even sacks because he willed himself to do so. But as great as that is, to play in the NFL you have to have a certain level of athletic ability to make it.

As a pass rusher Nelson does show some good initial burst that allows him to attack offensive tackles to either get to their edge or generate a bull rush. What causes Nelson to struggle is he lacks the speed to keep going towards the edge or the skilled hands to win at the point off attack. Too often if Nelson isn’t schemed open or he doesn't gain an initial advantage he is shut down and negated by the offensive tackle.

Against the run, Nelson can be a lot to deal with because he plays with such a tenacity and effort. His constant attacking can be a lot and allow him to knock lineman off balance and help him get penetration. When asked to take on blocks and hold the point of attack, Nelson struggles and too often he is driven off his spot and out of the play.


Because Garrett Nelson lacks the athletic traits that are required to play in the NFL he has his work cut out for him to stick with a team. Nelson will go undrafted but likely be picked up as a free agent to take part in rookie OTAs. The best chance Nelson has to make an NFL team is to find a role on special teams and hopefully show enough that a team is willing to put him on their practice squad. But more likely we’ll see Garrett Nelson playing in the XFL or the USFL next spring.