The Pittsburgh Steelers needed help at cornerback. Since the Artie Burns project took a very steep drop last season, the team has been searching for an answer at the position across from Joe Haden.
Last season both Cameron Sutton and Coty Sensabaugh tried their hands at the role, but neither fully solidified their spot. Sure, Sensabaugh played the second half of the season as a starter, but if he blew the coaching staff away he wouldn’t be sitting on the free agent market waiting for a team to sign him.
Not about to sit back and wait on other teams to pick up the best free agents, the Steelers went on the move. They tried to acquire Bradley Roby, and failed. They didn’t miss twice, signing Steven Nelson to a new 3-year contract.
Many fans, myself included, were not familiar with Nelson’s body of work with the Kansas City Chiefs, so I reached out to Arrowhead Pride’s editor, Pete Sweeney, to get a feel for what Nelson has done the past four years while in Kansas City.
This is what Sweeney had to say, and to get a better grip on Nelson you can always head over to Arrowhead Pride for some tremendous coverage:
The Chiefs drafted Steve Nelson in the third-round back in 2015 and over his four years as a Chief, he developed into a reliable second corner. Nelson was one of the few surviving John Dorsey defensive draft picks remaining on the Chiefs before he left for the Steelers on Tuesday evening.
Nelson hardly played for the Chiefs as a rookie but became a starter at right cornerback for the Chiefs in 2016, first across from Marcus Peters in ‘16 and 2017 and then Kendall Fuller in 2018. Despite missing the first half of 2017 due to core muscle surgery, Nelson started seven games late in the season.
Nelson played all 16 games in 2018 and was one of the pleasant surprises on an otherwise disappointing Chiefs defense. Though Nelson can be a little grabby at times, he has shown an ability to keep up with top-tier opponents. He is a passionate individual who is very self-confident. Whether it be due to his size (he’s 5’11”) or lack of credit/attention, Nelson carries a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. The Steelers got good value on a 26-year-old who will work and still has room to grow and improve.
The key for me in the above statement from Sweeney is how Nelson has improved almost yearly since entering the NFL. If this trend continues, the Steelers would have picked up a cornerback who is just starting to blossom entering his second NFL contract. Not a bad scenario for a team who is under contract for three years, and could be without Joe Haden after 2019 when his contract expires.
The written word is one thing, but the eye test doesn’t lie. I went through Twitter and found some clips of Nelson throughout his career. He is a physical player with a nose for the football. Is he perfect? Absolutely not, but he certainly is an upgrade over what the Steelers have/had at the CB2 position.
Check out the clips:
With the signing finally sinking in, it is time to get a feel for what you think of the signing? Do you like it? Do you love it? Or do you hate it? Let us know in the comment section below!