Rookie Profile: Jonathan Nelson

Posted Jun 22, 2011

Name: Jonathan Nelson

Position: Safety

Number: 26

College: Oklahoma

From: Arlington, Texas

High School Career: Three year starter at Summitt High in Arlington, Texas…Played cornerback in high school and was considered one of the best prospects at his position in the country…ESPN ranked him the 10th best CB in the nation and No. 112 player overall…Earned PrepStar and SuperPrep All American honors as a senior…Was also a standout sprinter on the track team.

College Career: After spending time on special teams, Nelson was a late bloomer who had a breakthrough 2009 junior campaign…He earned All Big 12 Conference honorable mention nods after moving into the starting lineup with three games to go. He had 11 tackles in his first start and picked up an interception in each of those final three games…Was a full time starter for the first time as a senior in 2010, posting 102 tackles with a pair of interceptions and seven pass breakups.

Need to Know: Grew up a fan of the Tennessee Titans and was upset with the Rams for winning Super Bowl 34 against his team. But says he became a bit of a Rams fan after ward and looked up to Kurt Warner, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

He Said It:

“I honestly feel like one of my best attributes is that I’m very versatile as far as my brains and my physical attributes. I feel like I can run like a corner and if I’m playing safety I could cover the ground that the other safety couldn’t. So I feel like I can excel there.” – Nelson said during draft weekend of his versatility.

They Said It:

“Nelson is kind of an OJ (Atogwe) type of safety if you will. He’s athletic, he’s instinctive, he can run the back end pretty good. He’s got good instincts and ball skills. Obviously there’s a void back there, we’ve got some good players here now but we’ll throw this guy in and see if he can compete.” – Rams GM Billy Devaney on Nelson

“He’s been in a lot of big football games. Has really good range. He really excelled this past year. He’s got some injury history prior to that but he played in a lot of games this year and we felt good about him.” - Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo on Nelson.

Outlook: In what figures to be a pretty wide open situation on the back end, Nelson will play special teams right away but should be in position to at least compete for a job to help out the defense. Following the departure of Atogwe to the Redskins in the offseason, Nelson joins a secondary that has Craig Dahl, James Butler and Darian Stewart returning and that also added Ohio State’s Jermale Hines in the fifth round.