Corey Nelson, Linebacker
Career Stats: 155 tackles, one interception, one touchdown, eight passes defended
Corey Nelson quickly became a leader of the linebacking corps at the University of Oklahoma last season. Many questions surrounded this defense after the 2012 season, that ended in Johnny Football having a record setting game in the 2013 Cotton Bowl.
The 2013-14 season proved to be a different story. Granted, Nelson was only able to contribute to the revival of the Sooners defense for a quarter of the season.
During Oklahoma’s 20-17 victory over TCU, Nelson sustained a season-ending injury, however, his leadership off the field, helped to make the linebacking corps one of the best in the country.
Nelson has the ability to read plays, and make adjustments to the rest of his defense. Being in a pass happy, pedal to the metal league, such as the Big 12, having a player who essentially is a second quarterback is a must.
He did not attend the NFL Combine. His pro day results are as follows:
- 40 Yard: 4.6
- Vertical Jump: 33
- Broad Jump: 9’09
- 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.48
- Three-cone drill: 7.37
His strengths: he is a very intelligent player, directing traffic at the lines. Very fast, agile at the point of attack, he is capable of dropping into coverages to defend against the air attacks seen frequently in the Big 12—a must in an NFL that is treading towards featuring an air attack.
The drawbacks: a major one that NFL scouts are looking at, is durability. He is coming off a torn pectoral injury that required surgical intervention and rehabilitation. He also is undersized for a player at his position compared to NFL averages. That could pose problems defending those who prefer to grind it out on the ground.
He is expected to go late in the 7th round in some circles. Others expect him to be an un-drafted free agent. According to CBSSports.com, he is rated as the 39th overall linebacker in the draft this year. With his skill set, and level of intelligence, NFL teams would be wise to give him an opportunity to compete for a spot on a 53 man pro roster. If the NFL does not work out, he could become a very valuable asset to a college football staff as a graduate assistant.