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Irish linemen Nelson and McGlinchey drafted Top-10 at NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Notre Dame Football boasted the nation's top offensive line in 2017, anchored by the left-side duo of guard Quenton Nelson and tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Now, the two Irish stars begin their professional careers after being drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

In fact, they were the first two offensive linemen taken - period.

Nelson will stay close to South Bend, selected sixth overall by the Indianapolis Colts. McGlinchey didn't have to wait much longer to hear his name called, selected ninth by the San Francisco 49ers.

The Colts' Chris Ballard was the only general manager to attend Notre Dame's pro day in March, but Nelson was still surprised he was taken by Indianapolis.

“I really had no idea when I was going to be picked, to be honest," Nelson told local media over the phone. "I knew I was going to be a Colt when I felt my phone buzzing in my hand and saw an Indianapolis area code, and everyone went nuts. It was an amazing time.”

For the Colts, though, it seemed an easy decision.

"He's nasty. He's tough. He's everything we want to stand for as a team," Ballard said shortly after making the pick. "His football character is off the charts and that's something we want to keep adding."

"My impression was that he's the best offensive lineman I've seen coming out in the draft in a while," added Colts head coach Frank Reich. "Just thinking of my first time talking with Chris about this, and our mutual consensus that this is where we want to go."

Nelson, gathered at his parents' lake house with friends and family, shared a video of their celebration.

A unanimous All-American, Nelson becomes the highest offensive guard drafted since 1985. While his position is one that caused debate over its value, the Colts believe Nelson's talent provided plenty of value for their offense.

"We want to build up front," Reich said. "That's what wins. We want to be dynamic in our skill positions and in the pass game, but in the long run, you've got to be good up front."

And that's exactly the kind of strength Nelson plans to bring to Indianapolis.

“I’m going to fight every day and play my hardest and try to keep improving every single day. I’m really excited, because I know all the guys on the offensive line are great guys and great players. I’m really excited to get to work with them, and like I said, get this ball rolling.”

McGlinchey joined Nelson in earning All-American honors his senior year, as the two led the offensive line to win the Joe Moore award for the top unit in the country.

Nelson and McGlinchey become the first pair of teammates to be the first two offensive line selections since 1991. It also marked the third time in 50 years that two offensive linemen from the same school were selected in the first 10 overall picks.

They became the third and fourth Notre Dame linemen to be drafted in the first round in the past five years, joining Zack Martin and Ronnie Stanley.

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