At last, what could be one of the most intriguing offseasons in Arizona Cardinals history is upon us. Fans of the team exercised extreme patience in 2023, but now it's time for the Redbirds to contend.
To get back to the playoffs, Cards general manager Monti Ossenfort must fill a plethora of holes. Included among the squad's needs is a glaring deficiency in the secondary.
It's no secret that Arizona is in desperate need of cornerback help. This past year's crop was game, but improvement at the spot is a necessity. That being said, there's one particular free agent-to-be who would seem to be a good fit for the Cardinals.
Steven Nelson, a starting cover guy from the Houston Texans, would be a solid addition. Over the past nine campaigns, the 30-year-old has been one of the NFL's most consistent performers. And there's something else that could attract the Cards to the more than capable Nelson.
Back in July of 2021, Nelson signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Also making his way to the "City of Brotherly Love" that year was Gannon, the up and coming assistant who was hired to run the Philly defense. Obviously, Nelson would be familiar with the Arizona scheme, knowledge that would make things a whole lot easier for the corner if he reunited with Gannon.
Steven Nelson can bring both talent and experience to the Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks room
On Saturday, during the Wild Card round of the postseason, Nelson put on quite a show for any organization who may be interested in acquiring his services in 2024. During the third quarter of Houston's 45-14 demolition of the Cleveland Browns, the Georgia native scored a touchdown on an electrifying 82-yard interception return. Nelson recorded five tackles as well, and was also credited with three pass breakups during the Texans triumph.
Nelson would immediately be penciled in as the Cardinals number-one cornerback if he joined the franchise this offseason. At the moment, the club has way too much inexperience at the position. Garrett Williams, Starling Thomas V, and Kei'Trel Clark are full of potential, but defensive coordinator Nick Rallis would certainly appreciate a cover guy who's been around the block a time or two.
If there's one thing that Nelson doesn't lack, it's experience. Besides the Texans and the Eagles, the former Oregon State University product has also spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. Nelson originally came to the league back in 2015 as a fourth-round selection of the Chiefs.
In 17 appearances (16 starts) this past fall, Nelson totaled 63 tackles, four picks and an impressive 12 passes defensed for Houston. Excellent numbers to say the least. The Cards front office needs to convince Nelson that the "Valley of the Sun" would be a terrific place for him to continue what has been an outstanding NFL career.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)