Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 38 of 63 JUNE/JULY 2018 39 said of Nelson. "We want to build the fronts, and that's what wins. "We want to be dynamic in our skill positions in our pass game and in our coverage, but in the long run you have to be good up front to sus- tain and get where you want to go." Both Reich and Ballard scouted Nelson heavily. Ballard saw Nel- son in person twice, making trips to Notre Dame to see him play against the Miami Hurricanes in 2016 and versus North Carolina State this past October. He was also in attendance at Notre Dame's pro day in March. It was then that Ballard knew Nel- son was the player he wanted with his second-ever first-round pick. Not since 1975 has a college guard been picked this high — when North Carolina's Ken Huff went No. 3 over- all to the Baltimore Colts. However, Ballard recognized he was getting a different kind of player. "After I got done with the workout … I was like, 'Wow, man this guy would be a great Colt,'" Ballard ex- plained. "You could feel him. I could feel when I watched [Oklahoma run- ning back[ Adrian Peterson come out. "I'll never forget standing on the sideline and him running by me; I don't know if I've ever experienced that with a player, but you could feel him. I could feel Adrian, and I could feel Quenton Nelson the same way." A player might not always fit what a team likes to do schematically, but Notre Dame's run game was quite di- verse. That allowed Nelson to thrive in the areas the Colts look for in their new system. "He was just productive in every kind of run scheme there is; zone- run schemes, gap-run schemes," Reich explained. "We charted him as a puller, and his productivity when pulling was just so far greater than anything we've ever seen. "For that big guy to move in space and just have the knack for the right entry, for the right kind of block, it was very impressive." Reich loved what he saw from Nel- son on film, but he and Ballard also spoke highly of what he brings as a man. "He's good both as a run blocker and in pass pro, he's nasty, he's tough. He's everything we want to stand for as a team," Ballard said. "His football character is off the charts, and that's something we want to keep adding. "He is demanding. He'll be de- manding of his teammates to per- form, and he'll be demanding of him- self to perform. He's a unique guy. He's got unique size, bend, strength, power — everything you look for in an interior lineman." The Colts actually received calls about trading for the No. 6 pick, but the opportunity to select Nelson was too great. NINERS VIEW MCGLINCHEY AS A 'GAME-CHANGER' Finding a franchise quarterback in the NFL is not easy, and when a team finds that player it is impera- tive they build around him. The San Francisco 49ers found their franchise quarterback last season when they traded a second-round pick to the New England Patriots to land Jimmy Garoppolo. When the 49ers selected Mc- Glinchey with the ninth overall pick, the organization showed it is now going to build around its new star signal-caller. "Mike McGlinchey is a guy that we've been excited about for some time," general manager John Lynch said. "He is a guy we scouted for a long time, and it just kept gaining steam. "The more we watched him, the more we liked him." A two-time All-American, Mc- Glinchey started 39 straight games for Notre Dame. His last 25 came at left tackle, but his first 14 were Tackle Mike McGlinchey's selection at the No. 9 spot by the 49ers gave the Irish a pair of top-10 picks. It marked the first time in school annals and just the third time in NFL Draft history that two offensive linemen from the same school were chosen among the first 10 picks. PHOTO COURTESY SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

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