By Logan Leslie
Over the last season, the analysts have raved about so many corners such as Stephon Gilmore, Tre White, Jaylen Ramsey and Marshon Lattimore to name a few. What if I told you, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a guy in that tier of players? Well they do. His name is Steven Nelson.
The Steelers signed Nelson to a 3 year, $25.5 million contract this past off-season which was arguably the steal of the 2019 free agent class. Coming into his first season with the Steelers, Nelson had been a very solid player with the Kansas City Chiefs but wasn’t a lock down corner. Fast forward to 2019 and Nelson has cemented himself as one of the best corners in the league that nobody talks about. Let’s take a look at a blind comparison and you try to determine which player Nelson is. The stats we’ll use for comparison will be total snaps played , targets, receptions allowed, yards allowed, touchdowns allowed and total interceptions.
Player A: 952 Snaps / 71 Targets / 49 Receptions / 811 Yards / 0 TDs / 6 INT
Player B: 812 Snaps / 88 Targets / 44 Receptions / 612 Yards / 3 TDs / 1 INT
Player C: 1,010 Snaps / 72 Targets / 37 Receptions / 491 Yards / 0 TDs / 1 INT
Player D: 781 Snaps / 68 Targets / 44 Receptions / 549 Yards / 1 TD / 1 INT
You’ll be shocked to read, Nelson is player C. He allowed the lowest reception percentage of the group while playing the most snaps and allowed no opponents to enter the end zone. The rest of the players are as follows:
Player A- New England Patriots CB, Stephon Gilmore.
Player B- New Orleans Saints CB, Marshon Lattimore.
Player D- Los Angeles Rams CB, Jaylen Ramsey.
Yes, Nelson allowed 12 less receptions and 320 less yards than the expected Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore. They both also allowed no touchdowns for the entirety of the season. Crazy to think that a guy with comparable numbers to a DPOY candidate gets no love from the media and it’s even crazier that multiple players can have comparable numbers to Gilmore and TJ Watt isn’t the favorite to win, but that’s a conversation for another day. Overall, Steven Nelson and Joe Haden were one of, if not the best CB duo in the NFL this past season. We can only hope next year they continue their success and get the recognition they deserve. We’ll certainly enjoy watching Nelson over the next two years with the hope we get a whole lot more.