Film Review: Kansas City Chiefs CB Steven Nelson

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

From the FanPosts. Thanks for taking the time to do this! -Joel

I don't think anyone will mistake Steven Nelson for a prototypical shutdown corner. That being said, he is a perfect answer for what offenses in the NFL are doing in the modern era.

I took the time to review five of his games, four of which can be found at Draft Breakdown, the Stanford game was on YouTube.

* Side note -- the .gif creator I used for the Stanford game isn't nearly as clean looking as the one on Draft Breakdown, so I apologize in advance.

My goal with this post is not to paint the picture of a perfect prospect, the guy was a comp pick in the 3rd round. So you'll see some areas where he consistently excels and some areas of weakness. Hopefully painting a realistic picture of where he is as a prospect while revealing a glimpse of what he could develop into with a little more consistency.

So let's jump into it.

Nelson really shines when he attacks downhill, works through traffic and makes open field tackles. A really intriguing skill set when NFL offenses are simply trying to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers in space. This first clip is against USC's Nelson Agholor. AP has sufficiently documented how dangerous Agholor is in space, so its no small feat to do what our guy was able to accomplish on an island.

The patience he showed when breaking down the the ballcarrier, coupled with the agility and awareness to avoid the block and contain an explosive playmaker, is a thing of beauty. Steven Nelson's ability to read and react, fight through blocks and disrupt plays shows up as a consistent strength, and one we can count on as early as his rookie season in the NFL.

You can also hang your hat on the fact that Nelson is going to play physical. This shows up in his willingness and capability in run support, press coverage and generally how he greets the receiver as he attempts to catch the ball. I wasn't able to include nearly as many clips as I wanted, but his game against Jaelen Strong was a fun one to watch... so go do it!

Zone awareness. Check. Closing speed. Check. Mean tackler. CHECK! Steven Nelson consistently jumped off the tape when he was able to read the play in front of him, stick his foot in the ground and close on the ballcarrier.

This next clip is against USC, and is a great representation of Nelson's willingness and physicality to wade through traffic and wrap up the RB. I really believe Nelson will be an asset in run defense with our sub package.

Most scouting reports out there say that Nelson is destined for slot CB duties mainly due to his size (5'10 197 pounds). I think that is probably where he projects in the Chiefs D, but I will say that Nelson plays bigger than his average height would suggest. This next highlight against Jaelen Strong displays his physicality to influence a route and compete at the catch point against a much bigger receiver.

Notice how he uses his strength to squeeze Strong's route to the boundary. In a straight jump ball, Nelson is at a huge disadvantage, but he shows not only an understanding that the sideline is a 2nd defender, but that he has the strength and ability to influence the route in that direction. Strong has no chance to get a foot in because of the work Nelson did forcing him wide.

As I watched these handful of games, the one concern I had was Nelson's ability to mirror a receiver through multiple breaks in his route tree. Option comeback / post or a pivot route seemed to consistently create separation against Nelson. Here is the best example I found.


Steven Nelson knows his strengths, those areas he consistently excels are why he can step in day 1 and make his presence felt on this defense. I think he and Marcus Peters love to compete, you line anyone up across from them and they will rise to the challenge. That competitive nature is a big part of the reason why we drafted those 2 and I'm excited to see what it looks like on the field.

Nelson is not the biggest guy, couple that with an unimpressive vertical (34" -- 28th percentile among CB drafted this year) and you see why people pencil him in as a slot CB. I think Nelson can get you out of a game as an outside CB due to the fact that he has learned how to succeed against bigger WR's. That being said, his largest impact will be felt when he can diagnose a play and attack it. Nelson has plenty of speed to follow his guy all over the field, and when its time to step up and make a play on the ball... well let's just say he won't back down from that challenge.

I think it's a great addition to our secondary. What say you?

Go Chiefs.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.