The acquisition of cover guy Malcolm Butler back on March 30th should do wonders for the Arizona Cardinals secondary. The two-time Super Bowl champion is expected to bring both skill and experience to coordinator Vance Joseph’s defensive unit. Arizona’s Steve Keim certainly deserves kudos for that impressive move, but there’s talk that the general manager could be looking to add even more talent to the Cards cornerback mix.
Steven Nelson, a seventh-year NFL veteran, is someone who could warrant consideration from the Cardinals front office. The 28-year old asked for, and was granted, his release from the Pittsburgh Steelers back on March 23rd. The “Black and Gold” freed up $8.25 million in salary-cap space by parting ways with the productive Nelson.
Nelson would be an excellent addition to Arizona’s defensive backfield. At the moment, the squad has Byron Murphy, Robert Alford and a couple of no-names behind Butler on the team’s depth chart. Nelson would likely battle it out with Alford to start opposite Butler on the boundary, with Murphy taking up residence in the slot.
The 5’11,194 pound Nelson was a third-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs back in 2015. The Georgia native played his college ball at Oregon State University, appearing in 25 games over the course of two campaigns. Nelson totaled 122 tackles, eight interceptions (one pick-six) and 16 passes defensed for the Beavers.
Nelson spent four seasons with the Chiefs, and was credited with 38 starts in the 52 contests he dressed for. The cornerback registered 182 tackles, four picks and 35 pass breakups during his stint with Kansas City. In March of 2019, Nelson signed a three-year, $25.5 million free agent contract with the Steelers.
During his first year with Pittsburgh, Nelson racked up 61 tackles, one interception and eight passes defensed in 15 starts. Last fall, the veteran recorded 48 tackles, two picks and nine pass breakups in another 15 starts for the Steelers.
Could the Arizona desert be Nelson’s next destination? Fans of the franchise will know soon enough if the Cards have any interest in the gifted cover guy.