The Pittsburgh Steelers filled a major gap on defense by signing Steven Nelson this offseason, and Mike Tomlin had nothing but praise for the cornerback.
This was the first time the Pittsburgh Steelers ever signed a player during the legal tampering period. Steven Nelson was on the Steelers’ radar all offseason and amidst the cornerback signing frenzy that occurred early, they decided to throw their hat in the rink.
The former Kansas City Chief played well against Pittsburgh, but head coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers had their eye on him long before this offseason. Tomlin said the Steelers first liked Nelson when they watched him in the Senior Bowl coming out of Oregon State. The corner played both inside and outside, something that caught Tomlin’s eye early.
But it’s Nelson’s versatility that pushed the Steelers to make a move. Tomlin was quoted by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying it’s his inside and outside game that makes him the player they wanted.
"“We believe we need that versatility, that inside-outside capability. We’re excited about the addition of him.”"
Nelson joins Mark Barron as Pittsburgh’s major offseason additions. This defense needed to fill the cornerback and inside linebacker role and while they still might add to the positions in the draft, they certainly landed quality help in the open market.
Nelson is hoping to replace Artie Burns as the Steelers’ long-term solution on the outside. After failing to meet expectations, Burns has become mostly a bench-warmed in Pittsburgh. He may get another try to contribute this season, but it’s hard to imagine his time as a starter will come again.
Pittsburgh fans were thrilled to see a young and talented corner join the mix. It’ll be Joe Haden, Nelson and Mike Hilton running things in the secondary this season. For the Steelers, they’re hoping that combination turns their less than impressive backfield into something offenses need to worry about.