Could Haden, Nelson Be Amongst the Top Cornerback Tandems in 2019?

By Jared Villani

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden has proved to be worth every penny of the three-year deal he signed back in 2017, but he can’t play on both sides at once. However, the recent signing of former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson could give Haden some much needed help if he can continue to play the way he did last season.

After a shaky start to his career, Nelson accumulated 68 tackles, 15 pass deflections, and four interceptions in 2018. It’s very possible Nelson will continue to force turnovers as teams will test the Steelers secondary and presumably steer clear of Haden’s side. In addition, the Steelers solid run defense could force more teams to throw downfield, leaving the Pittsburgh corners with plenty of chances to produce takeaways.

Since the Steelers missed out on a trip to the post season, it was easy to look past their defensive success in 2018. Despite the horrific takeaway total (15), Pittsburgh possessed a top-10 defense in both the passing and running game. After being in the bottom five in regards to takeaways, there’s only room for improvement.

Now with the arrival of Nelson, the Steelers may have found a cornerback capable of providing some solid coverage after years of giving former first rounder Artie Burns ample opportunities at keeping the starting job. While Burns is still on the roster, it’s doubtful he will be placed in any high leverage situations considering his history. The number two spot is now Nelson’s to lose, so it’s up to him to build upon the season he had in 2018.

It’s unlikely Pittsburgh will possess the intimidation factor the duo of A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey present in Jacksonville, but if the production is there for the Pittsburgh tandem, sooner or later offenses will shy away from testing Haden and Nelson. If all goes as planned, the Steelers may finally have a secondary that can match the strength of their tough front seven.

How do you think Haden and Nelson will do in 2019? Let us know in the comment section below!


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