Colts’ notebook: Quenton Nelson giving ‘everything to football’

Quenton Nelson

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The hyperbole and media attention that often follow a lottery draft pick into his first official practice was missing Friday afternoon.

Rest assured the media attention was there as Quenton Nelson prepared to take his initial step as an Indianapolis Colt. The former Notre Dame guard found himself encircled by the media in a meeting room about an hour before stepping on the field for the first day of a rookie minicamp.

Earlier in the day, he signed his four-year rookie contract that was worth approximately $23.88 million.

The hyperbole or snappy quotes? Not so much.

Even though Nelson is viewed as a major building block in an offensive line that’s been substandard for too long, he was in no mood to separate himself from his teammates.

Nelson made it clear he’s here to work. Period.

The lucrative contract, he insisted “doesn’t change my approach. Still coming in every day, giving 100 percent.

“It’s just better now that I don’t have to work about school and I can give literally everything to football.’’

General manager Chris Ballard’s commitment to upgrading the team’s offensive line was evident during the April draft. Along with investing the 6th overall pick in Nelson, he used one of his four second-round picks on another All-American guard, Braden Smith.

Nelson, though, was the shiniest bauble from the 11-player draft class. He was the first guard taken by the Colts in round 1 since Ron Solt in 1984, and the first natural collegiate guard taken with a top-6 pick in the NFL since New Orleans’ Jim Dombrowski in ’86.

Does Nelson feel the pressure that generally accompanies a top-10 pick?

“Not too much,’’ he said. “I’m just doing everything that got me to where I am today. Like I said before, the approach doesn’t change. I’m still coming in and trying to be the best teammate I can be and the best player I can be.’’

That’s all the Colts are asking as well. Along with adding Nelson and Smith through the draft, Ballard signed free-agent tackle Austin Howard earlier this week.

Training camp competition will determine who plays where, but a mid-May projection could have Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Nelson at left guard, Ryan Kelly at center, Smith at right guard and Howard at right tackle. Smith will have to fend off Jack Mewhort and Matt Slauson while Howard’s competition figures to come from Joe Haeg and Denzelle Good.

Quote of the day

It’s obvious rookie running back Nyheim Hines is a quick study. Even though the fourth-round draft pick possesses big-play potential, he realizes there’s a time and place to be loud.

His approach to rookie minicamp?

“Just shut up and listen,’’ Hines said. “And even when the vets are here, just wait to be seated. You don’t want to piss a vet off by sitting in (his) seat. Be polite, shut up and listen, don’t say anything and wait to sit.’’

Roster move

The team signed free agent wideout Kasen Williams and waived wideout DeAndre Smelter. The 6-1, 219-pound Williams has 10 receptions and 92 yards while appearing in 10 games for Cleveland and Seattle.

The team also was awarded defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches off waivers from Kansas City and waived outside linebacker Josh Perry.

The 6-2, 307-pound Nunez-Roches has appeared in 34 career games with three starts with the Chiefs.