NFL News & Analysis

Premium Content Sign Up

Why the Colts should not move Quenton Nelson to left tackle

Paradise, Nevada, USA; Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (56) blocks for quarterback Philip Rivers (17) against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With left tackle Anthony Castonzo announcing his retirement, the Indianapolis Colts have a hole to fill next to All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson. Both Castonzo and Nelson have been cornerstones for one of the league’s best offensive lines over the last three years, and Nelson is so good that the Colts are contemplating moving him to left tackle to fill the void left by Castonzo.

It’s not a crazy thought. When Nelson came out of college, we debated the merits of moving him to tackle to tap into his unique skill set at a more valuable position. The debate centered around the value of an average to good offensive tackle versus an elite guard. We debated this under the assumption that Nelson was destined to become one of the league’s best guards, but it was difficult to project him as anything more than an average to above average offensive tackle.

Three years later, Nelson has been by far the most valuable guard in the league. In fact, he’s been the most valuable offensive lineman altogether. The Colts are posing the same question about his value on the interior versus the most important position along the offensive line: left tackle.

Given the state of NFL offensive tackle play, our intuition has been that average to good offensive tackle play should outweigh the value of elite guard play. But what do the numbers say? 

Subscribe to PFF Edge to continue reading

Already have a subscription? Sign In

You've got the first pick with your finances. Western Southern Financial Group.

NFL Featured Tools

  • Live picks, grades and reaction to the 2022 NFL Draft.

  • PFF's Big Board for the 2023 NFL Draft offers three-year player grades, combine measurables, position rankings, and in-depth player analysis for all of the top draft prospects.

    Available with

  • 250+ three-page scouting profiles - advanced stats, 3-year grades, player comps, combine data and Senior Bowl grades - for the 2022 draft class.

    Available with

  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NFL player performance data.

    Available with

Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr