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.