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Mel Kiper projects Quenton Nelson to Bears in latest 2018 NFL mock draft

Quenton Nelson participates in the 2018 NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis. | Michael Conroy/AP Photo

Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson is the Bears’ selection with the No. 8 overall pick in the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper. The mock includes several quarterbacks going off in the board in the first few selections, including Wyoming’s Josh Allen to the Browns first overall.

Nelson has been a common target for the Bears in mock drafts given he’s regarded as the top offensive lineman prospect in the class. It’s rare for teams to draft guards in the upper half of the first round, but the 22-year-old was named a unanimous All-American last year and would immediately step into a significant role in the NFL. The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley also projected Nelson to the Bears in the 5.0 edition of his mock draft.

Drafting Nelson would reunite the lineman with Harry Heistand, who was the offensive line coach at Notre Dame from 2012-17 before joining Matt Nagy’s staff this year.

“It would definitely be a good thing to be with Coach Hiestand,” Nelson said at the NFL scouting combine. “He’s developed me into the player that I am today, and it would be awesome to continue that development at the next level.”

Other possible picks for the Bears include Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. However, if the team decides to continue focus on offense after adding Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and others in free agency, it seems like Nelson will be a prime target if he’s still on the board.