Oregon State, CB
Fairly average athlete who doesn’t have the deep speed to cover NFL speedsters. Average fluidity and agility and has some trouble flipping his hips. While he has good recovery burst he lacks great closing speed on plays in front of him.
Played a good mix of both man and zone coverage at Oregon State, playing his best while in the former. Has frenetic footwork and needs to smooth out his footwork and play with more patience. Concedes too much cushion in zone and doesn’t have the closing speed to break up the pass. Plays sticky and physical in man, but will get flagged at the next level with the aggressiveness that he plays with.
Physical corner who has experience lined up over his receiver and in press coverage. Played more bail coverage than anything else and will need to attempt to jam more at the line of scrimmage. Has the frame and temperament to develop into a press corner. Gets physical with receivers in their routes and at the break point. Willing run supporter, but will need to get better at shedding receiver blocks.
Ball Skills: B
Good hands to make the interception and has a nice track record of getting production on the ball. Has good leaping ability and body control. Plays the ball when he knows he can get it and doesn’t gamble for interceptions he can’t make.
Instinctive against both the run and the pass. Doesn’t gamble in coverage and plays with more caution than abandon, avoiding getting burned by his lack of elite athleticism. Aggressive against the run and plays behind the line of scrimmage. Excellent at sniffing out wide receiver screens. Just a two year starter as a JUCO transfer.
Red Flags: None
Bottom Line: While Steven Nelson is neither a superior athlete nor in the mold of the huge NFL corner, he presents a solid draft prospect for a team that plays heavy press. Nelson more than likely will not become a starter, but should provide playmaking ability in the slot.
Comparison: Justin Bethel
Grade: 7.7 (4th Round)
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