Why Colorado’s Nelson Spruce was passed up in this year’s draft

Nelson Spruce

Colorado was hopeful to see one of their own selected in the 2016 NFL draft, and they were close, with guys like Christian Powell, Ken Crawley, and Nelson Spruce all projected to be verging on seventh-round prospects? But that just wasn’t the case for fans in the Mile High City this year.

Despite CU fans regarding Nelson Spruce as one of the greats, he didn’t make the cut in this year’s draft, signing with the Los Angeles Rams in free agency, instead. Neill Woelk, contributing editor for CUBuffs.com, joined Gil Whiteley this afternoon to discuss the hesitancy behind him not being selected.

To put it simply, Woelk said, “Nobody wants to take the guy that doesn’t have the measurables.”

Spruce may have left CU with 40 school records. Spruce may have left CU as the Pac-12’s all-time receptions leader. And Spruce may have left CU as the only Buff receiver with multiple 1,000-yard seasons. But to NFL scouts, Spruce is a guy who’s physical abilities don’t match up to his on-field production.

The 6-foot-1 wideout just didn’t have the numbers that most scouts look for in a receiving prospect, making the risk much greater than the potential reward.

GIL WHITELEY LIVE STREAMBut does that mean he can’t be a successful player? No, of course not. It’s just going to take a lot of hard work and a superior skill set in other areas.

And if there’s one athlete Spruce might want to be modeling himself after, it’s Anquan Boldin, who also saw his draft stock fall thanks to a disappointing combine performance.

Boldin and Spruce are almost identical in weight and height and share similar 40 times — Boldin clocked in at 4.71 seconds, while Spruce edged him out at 4.69.

Throughout his career, Boldin has been able to leverage his other superior skills into an All-Pro-caliber game. Of course, Boldin was much more highly regarded coming out of college than Spruce, but that’s just one example — Jerry Rice also ran a 4.71-second 40; Wes Welker ran his in 4.65 seconds.

Spruce has an upfield battle ahead of him, but he’ll be given every opportunity to prove himself on the field, not in boxer shorts.

To listen to more Nelson Spruce talk, check out the podcast below …

Catch Gil Whiteley with every weekday from 11a – 1p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 or stream live any time for the best coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s Biggest sports talk lineup.

SHARE