Steven Nelson

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Steven Nelson
refer to caption
Nelson with the Kansas City Chiefs
No. 22 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Personal information
Born: (1993-01-22) January 22, 1993 (age 26)
Warner Robins, Georgia
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:197 lb (89 kg)
Career information
High school:Northside
(Warner Robins, Georgia)
College:Oregon State
NFL Draft:2015 / Round: 3 / Pick: 98
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Total tackles:182
Forced fumbles:1
Fumble recoveries:2
Pass deflections:35
Player stats at

Steven Nelson (born January 22, 1993) is an American football cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oregon State.

Early years[edit]

Nelson attended Northside High School in Warner Robins, Georgia. As a senior, he had seven interceptions on defense and seven punt return touchdowns. Also a track star at Warner Robins, Nelson had a best of 11.15 seconds in the 100 meters and was part of the 4x100 relay team that finished in first place in the county.

College career[edit]

Nelson attended the College of the Sequoias for two years, where he had 71 tackles and six interceptions.[1] He was originally going to transfer to the University of Georgia but changed to Oregon State University.[2][3] Nelson entered his first season at Oregon State as the nickel corner, eventually becoming a starter and starting the final nine games. For the season he had 62 tackles and six interceptions.[4][5] As a senior in 2014, Nelson recorded 60 tackles and two interceptions.[6]

Professional career[edit]

On November 30, 2014, it was announced that Nelson had accepted his invitation to play in the 2015 Senior Bowl.[7] On January 24, 2015, Nelson appeared in the 2015 Senior Bowl and recorded four tackles as part of Tennessee Titans' head coach Ken Whisenhunt's North team that defeated the South 34–13. Nelson attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and completed all of the combine and positional drills.

External video
Steven Nelson's NFL Combine Workout

On March 13, 2015, Nelson participated at Oregon State's pro day and chose to run the 40-yard dash (4.46s), 20-yard dash (2.57s), 10-yard dash (1.57s), and also positional and pass coverage drills. He attended pre-draft visits with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions and was considered one of the most underrated prospects in the upcoming draft.[8][9] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Nelson was projected to be a third round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the 12th best cornerback prospect in the draft by and was ranked as the 13th best cornerback by USA Today.[10]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
5 ft 10 in
(1.78 m)
197 lb
(89 kg)
30 58 in
(0.78 m)
9 14 in
(0.23 m)
4.49 s 1.57 s 2.63 s 4.07 s 6.88 s 34 12 in
(0.88 m)
9 ft 7 in
(2.92 m)
19 reps
All values from NFL Combine

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]


The Kansas City Chiefs selected Nelson in the third round (98th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Nelson was the 14th cornerback drafted overall and was the second cornerback drafted by the Chiefs in 2015.[11]

External video
Chiefs draft Steven Nelson 98th overall

On May 15, 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs signed Nelson to a four-year, $2.91 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $581,952.[12]

Throughout training camp, Nelson competed to be a backup cornerback against Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper.[13] Head coach Andy Reid named Nelson the sixth cornerback on the Chiefs' depth chart to begin the regular season, behind Sean Smith, Phillip Gaines, Marcus Peters, Jamell Fleming, and Marcus Cooper.[14]

Nelson was inactive as a healthy scratch for the first four regular season games of his rookie season (Weeks 1–4).[15] On October 11, 2015, Nelson made his professional regular season debut in the Kansas City Chiefs' 36–21 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. In Week 12, he collected a season-high three solo tackles in the Chiefs' 30–22 victory against the Buffalo Bills in Week 12.[16] He completed his rookie season in 2015 with eight solo tackles in 12 games and zero starts and primarily appeared on special teams.[17]

The Kansas City Chiefs finished second in the AFC West with an 11–5 record in 2015 and earned a wildcard berth. On January 9, 2016, Nelson appeared in his first career playoff game and broke up a pass during a 30-0 victory at the Houston Texans in the AFC Wildcard Game. The following week, the Chiefs were eliminated from the playoffs after a 27-20 loss at the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round.


Throughout training camp, Nelson competed to be a starting cornerback after Sean Smith departed for the Oakland Raiders in free agency. Nelson competed against Jamell Fleming, Phillip Gaines, and rookie KeiVarae Russell.[18] Head coach Andy Reid named Nelson a starting cornerback to start the regular season, alongside Marcus Peters.

He started in the Kansas City Chiefs' season-opener against the San Diego Chargers and collected a season-high nine solo tackles in their 33–27 victory. In Week 9, he recorded two combined tackles and made a season-high three pass deflections during a 19–14 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars.[19] Nelson was inactive for the Chiefs' Week 12 victory at the Denver Broncos due to a neck injury.[20] He finished the season with 65 combined tackles (59 solo) and 16 pass deflections in 15 games and 15 starts.[17]

The Kansas City Chiefs finished first in the AFC West with a 12–4 record and earned a first round bye. On January 25, 2017, Nelson started his first career playoff game and made five combined tackles 18–16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Round.[19]


Nelson entered training camp slated as a starting cornerback, but saw competition for the role from Phillip Gaines.[21] On September 3, 2017, the Kansas City Chiefs placed Nelson on injured reserve/designated to return in order for him to undergo core muscle surgery.[22] On October 30, 2017, the Kansas City Chiefs activated Nelson off injured reserve for the team's Week 8 matchup against the Broncos.[23] He returned to his starting role in Week 9 and was named the starting cornerback for the remainder of the season, along with Marcus Peters. In Week 13, he collected a season-high nine combined tackles during a 38–31 loss at the New York Jets.[24] He finished the 2017 season with 41 combined tackles (33 solo) and four pass deflections in nine games and seven starts.[17] He received an overall grade of 76.8 from Pro Football Focus in 2017.[25]

The Kansas City Chiefs finished first in the AFC West with a 10–6 record, but were eliminated from the playoffs after a 22–21 upset loss to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wildcard Game. He finished the game with three combined tackles and a pass deflection.


Nelson entered training camp slated as the No. 1 starting cornerback on the Chiefs' depth chart after the team traded Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams.[26] Head coach Andy Reid named Nelson and Kendall Fuller the starting cornerback tandem to begin the regular season in 2018.[27]

He started in the Kansas City Chiefs' season-opener at the Los Angeles Chargers and collected eight combined tackles and broke up a pass in their 38–28 victory. On October 7, 2018, Nelson recorded three combined tackles, deflected two passes, and made his first career interception during a 30–14 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5.[28] He made his first career interception off a pass attempt by quarterback Blake Bortles after Bortles' pass ricocheted off the helmet of a Jaguars' offensive lineman and was caught by Nelson in the endzone with less than 12 seconds remaining in the second quarter.[29] He started all 16 games in 2018, recording 68 combined tackles, 15 passes defensed, and four interceptions.

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

On March 14, 2019, Nelson signed a three-year, $25.5 million contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.[30]


  1. ^ OSU football: Nelson eyes opportunity to move up depth chart
  2. ^ Georgia lands juco DB Steven Nelson
  3. ^ Oregon State football: Cornerback Steven Nelson taking advantage of second chance
  4. ^ Nelson a big-play cornerback for Beavers
  5. ^ Steven Nelson aiming to become 'dominant' cornerback for Oregon State Beavers
  6. ^ Nelson ready to show off talents in Senior Bowl
  7. ^ "Steven Nelson, Oregon State Beavers cornerback, accepts Senior Bowl invite". December 1, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Chip on shoulder helps Nelson in pursuit of NFL dreams". April 23, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "Jeremiah: Steven Nelson one of draft's most undervalued players". April 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "Steven Nelson, DS #12 CB, Oregon State". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Thorman, Joel (May 1, 2015). "Kansas City Chiefs select Oregon State DB Steven Nelson in third round". Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  12. ^ " Steven Nelson contract". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  13. ^ "Chiefs 2015 draft: CB Steven Nelson is 'real physical', can play inside or outside". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  14. ^ Thorman, Joe (September 5, 2015). "Tracking Kansas City Chiefs 2015 NFL roster cuts, news and rumors (live updates)". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  15. ^ "Game coming easier to Chiefs' Steven Nelson as he grows at nickel position". October 30, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  16. ^ "NFL Player stats: Steven Nelson (2015)". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "NFL Player stats: Steven Nelson (career)". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Chiefs' Steven Nelson seeks to make statement in secondary". May 24, 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: Steven Nelson (2016)". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  20. ^ "Week 12 injury report roundup". November 26, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  21. ^ "Chiefs place CB Steven Nelson on IR, expect him back this season". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  22. ^ Teicher, Adam (September 3, 2017). "Chiefs put starting CB Steven Nelson on IR, re-sign C.J. Spiller".
  23. ^ "Chiefs activate starting CB Steven Nelson from IR".
  24. ^ "NFL Player stats: Steven Nelson (2017)". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  25. ^ Sweeney, Pete (July 25, 2018). "Arrowheadlines: Chiefs have one of the league's worst secondaries, according to PFF".
  26. ^ "Chiefs defense will lean on Steven Nelson". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  27. ^ "Chiefs release 1st unofficial depth chart of regular season". September 4, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "NFL Player stats: Steven Nelson (2018)". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson collects the first interception of his career". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  30. ^ Varley, Teresa (March 14, 2019). "Nelson: 'I love that challenge'".

External links[edit]