Wide receiver David Nelson didn't have a very large presence in Florida's offense while in Gainseville, but when he got his hands on the ball, he made it count. Seven of his 46 career receptions went for touchdowns, as his big 6'5", 217-pound frame came in handy in the red zone.
"You can't deny his size and the occasional flashes of playmaking," said Mocking the Draft's Dan Kadar when I asked him about Nelson. "Look for his catch in the national title game in 2008. Incredible."
The Buffalo Bills signed Nelson after the 2010 NFL Draft because of those physical skills.
Since joining the Bills on April 30, Nelson participated in rookie mini-camp from May 7-9, and spent this past week in Buffalo getting adjusted to his new surroundings.
"We had a little time to get to know each other [during mini camp] but mostly it was all work," the former Gator told me. "I had known some of the guys before because of college. "
Nelson and his fellow rookies went on a tour of Buffalo and neighboring communities on Tuesday. The group of 23 made stops at the New Era Cap Co. downtown, and stopped by Spot Coffee on Chippewa Street. They all spent time with children at the Gloria Parks Community Center and the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club. The rookies also visited Niagara Falls, and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe on the American side. Nelson enjoyed the trip, but also the relationships he's building with his new teammates.
"I loved it. We're all getting to know each other. We're all going through this together, so we have each other to call on."
Looking forward, there is an opportunity for Nelson to earn a spot on Buffalo's roster. In his second year as' head coach in 1999, Chan Gailey utilized three rookie wide receivers and eight receivers in total (nine if you include cornerback Deion Sanders, who had four receptions).
With Lee Evans being the only firmly established wide receiver on the team, the Bills will have open spots alongside and behind veterans Roscoe Parrish, Steve Johnson, James Hardy, Felton Huggins, and free agent signee Chad Jackson. Fourth-round draft pick Marcus Easley and fellow undrafted signees Naaman Roosevelt and Donald Jones will compete with Nelson and the vets for spots on the active roster, as well as the practice squad.
Nelson also mentioned making the leap from college to the pros.
"The biggest difference between college and the pros is terminology and routes," said Nelson. "The DBs in the NFL are the best, and there is little separation. You have to run a great route every time."
Nelson might want to be just as worried about gaining separation on the depth chart from other members of the Bills wide receiver corps.