Left tackle Zion Nelson only Miami football player in PFF NFL Draft Big Board

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23:.(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23:.(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Left tackle Zion Nelson is the only Miami football player ranked in the “2022 NFL Draft Big Board: PFF’s Top 100 Prospects.” The projections for NFL Draft could influence who decides to return for 2022 and who turns pro early. Nelson seems like the most likely to leave with Pro Football Focus ranking Nelson 59th overall.

Nelson is the eighth-ranked offensive tackle on the PFF 2022 NFL Draft big board. Earlier this week Nelson earned honorable mention All-ACC. Nelson was part of a Miami offensive line that led the ACC in pass blocking this season with a grade of 82.2 according to PFF via Inside the U. Miami was 11th with a 60.5 run-blocking grade.

With a listing of 59th, Nelson would project as a late second-round pick. Nelson is listed as the 70th ranked overall prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft by CBS Sports. Joining Nelson on the CBS Sports NFL Draft top 100 are Miami teammates, defensive tackle Jared Harrison-Hunte at 82 and safety Bubba Bolden who is 84th.

Nelson has started for Miami since his freshman season in 2019. The improvement he has made has been remarkable. Nelson infamously graded a 0.0 in his first game against Florida as the Miami offensive line allowed nine sacks. The ascension of Nelson as a three-star recruit into a top 50-70 draftee has been impressive.

Nelson was the 1,114 ranked player and 114th ranked offensive tackle when he signed with Miami in the Class of 2019. On a Miami football roster full of players who have not reached their recruiting ranking, Nelson has exceeded his significantly. The development of Nelson is a credit to Miami offensive line coach Garin Justice.

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Miami right tackle Jarrid Williams has graded out much higher than Nelson has this season. Scouts like the athleticism that Nelson brings upfront. If Nelson decides to forego his final two seasons of eligibility, the NFL combine at the end of February and early March in Indianapolis will be critical for his draft status.