A rarity: Colts’ Quenton Nelson named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 16: Nyheim Hines #21 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates scoring a first half touchdown with teammate Quenton Nelson #56 against the Washington Redskins for a first half touchdown at FedExField on September 16, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts went against the norm in April when they selected Quenton Nelson with the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft. It marked the first time in more than three decades a pure guard had been taken that high.

Now, another rarity for Nelson. He has been named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October.

Nelson is the first guard in league history and just the seventh lineman to win a Rookie of the Month honor. He’s the sixth Colt to earn NFL Rookie of the Month honors, joining running backs Edgerrin James (twice), Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai, defensive end Dwight Freeney and linebacker Darius Leonard.

“A lot of times you pick a player in the first round and he’s a good player,” offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo said. “This guy’s an exceptional football player who’s come in right away and (made an) impact.”

Nelson has started all eight games and is the only Colt to be on the field for every offensive play.

In October, the Colts posted a 2-2 record in large part by following the lead of their offense. It averaged 34.3 points per game, scoring at least 34 points in each of the last three games. The running game came alive and compiled at least 200 yards against Buffalo and Oakland, marking the first time since 1987 it had at least 200 yards in consecutive games.

Andrew Luck also excelled behind Nelson and the offensive line. He completed 100-of-156 passes for 1,061 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions, and was sacked only once. He hasn’t been sacked in the last three games and his last 156 attempts.

That’s the type of instant impact general manager Chris Ballard envisioned when he used his first-round pick on Nelson, the All-American out of Notre Dame.

“He’s good both as a run blocker and pass-pro,” Ballard said in April. “He’s nasty. He’s tough. He’s everything we want to stand for as a team. His football character is off the charts, and that’s something that we want to keep adding.”

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51