Iowa football player Anthony Nelson is entering the 2019 NFL Draft, and he will have an opportunity to improve his draft stock at the 2019 Senior Bowl.
The Senior Bowl is the premier event for NFL draft prospects ever single season. Executive director, and former NFL draft scout, Jim Nagy and his staff scour the nation every single season looking for the best senior prospects to bring to Mobile, Alabama and display their talents in front of NFL talent evaluators. What happens down in Mobile can have a big impact on a player’s draft prospects (just ask number one overall pick Baker Mayfield), and this year one Iowa football player, Anthony Nelson, was offered a fantastic opportunity to participate.
Nelson, a redshirt junior defensive end, has fulfilled all requirements necessary to graduate making him eligible to participate, and once he announced his intentions to forgo his senior season, the Senior Bowl was quick to sweep in and grab the Waukee, Iowa native.
Jim Nagy announced Nelson’s invite acceptance earlier this past week.
Nelson, projected to be a day two pick, is rated anywhere between 35-100 in most draft analysts big boards including the guys from The Draft Network. He is coming off another fantastic season where he racked up 9.5 sacks, good for third in the Big Ten and 45 total tackles. He finished his career with 23 sacks and a 119 total tackles.
At the Senior Bowl, he will have an opportunity to be coached by Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden (with the North squad), but what will be more intriguing is the coach on the other sideline for the South team, Kyle Shannahan.
Shannahan and general manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers have shown an affinity for Iowa football players in the past. In their first draft together, they selected Iowa football players CJ Beathard and George Kittle in addition to signing former Iowa football cornerback Greg Mabin to the team. So far, those investments have paid off pretty well considering George Kittle took the NFL by storm this season.
Furthermore, the 49ers have a glaring need at the edge position, which is conveniently where the 6’7” Anthony Nelson projects at the next level. That being said, let’s not forget that the Raiders are in a complete rebuild and just hired draft analyst Mike Mayock as their general manager. With the team jettisoning Khalil Mack this past offseason for picks, the Raiders possess plenty of picks and plenty of needs, specifically in the pass-rushing department.
Even if the Raiders and 49ers ultimately are not interested in Nelson’s services, all that matters is that he can impress one team enough in Mobile to take a chance on the talented defensive end.
Practices at the Senior Bowl are open to the public all week and the game will take place on Saturday, January 26.