NFL Draft News & Notes: April 14

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

We've got draft stock updated and information on workouts and visits for a few forgotten players who’ll impact the draft in two weeks, not to mention the return of a former highly rated Penn state lineman.

Braden Smith of Auburn is a name I haven't heard a lot about recently, and he’s flying under the radar. Smith entered the season rated by NFL scouts as one of the top offensive tackles from the senior class. He’s a smart, tough lineman with a great deal of versatility. Smith, who presently grades as a late second-round or early third-round pick on our tackle board, has lined up at both tackle and guard in college. His recent visits have included the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. All three teams view Smith as a guard. We also previously reported that there was a lot of love for Smith coming from the New York Giants, and he would be a great addition to their roster if the team was to select him somewhere in Round 3.

He’s one of the more undervalued linemen in the draft and a player we project as a next-level starter. 

Robert Plant once asked, “Does anybody remember laughter?” With less than two weeks to go before the draft, I’ll ask, “Does anybody remember Andrew Nelson?”

Entering the season, Nelson was graded as a solid late-fourth or early fifth-round pick by NFL scouts. We graded the tackle as a potential sixth-round pick last July. Nelson pretty much fell off the face of the earth during the 2017 season, playing in just five games and starting only one, largely due to knee issues. As we noted on March 20, he was a no show for Penn State’s pro day and questions loomed if Nelson had retired.

Today I was notified that Nelson has not retired but is in fact recovering from knee surgery and intends to give it a go at the next level.

Nelson’s name likely means little to those outside of the scouting community and Penn State fans right now, but keep it in the back of your mind. If Nelson returns to full health and progresses on the ability he showed in 2015 and 2016, he definitely has a future in the NFL.