Steve Nelson   CB/ST   Oregon St

TALENT BOARD ROUND 2

STRENGTHS
Steve is the type of player that all teams need in their defensive backfield to be successful. His ability to play bigger is directly related to the fact that he will fight you all through the game and until the last play of the game. When you play against Steve, at the end of the game, you are so tired you canít put one foot in front of the other. He is quick, fast and a punishing tackler who is always looking to strip the ball away from his opponent. His techniques overall are excellent and can play up on his opponent or off in zone coverage or in a matchup zone coverage defense. He is smart and shows leadership skills through his play on the field. Steve loves the challenge of defending against the best receiver big or small and, in spite of his size, matches up well with any size receiver. He has the bulk and strength in his lower and upper body to take the pounding of the bigger receivers and the speed and quickness to defend against those smaller receivers in the slot or out wide. Steven is an impact defensive player who is always around the ball because teams feel that his size is something of a positive mis-match for their offense. They think that way before the game, but I can tell you after the game, they know they made a big mistake.

CONCERNS
Iím not going to downgrade Steve because of his lack of size because for me thatís not the issue. Steve is an excellent tackler and punishing when he uses the correct form. My only criticism is that he tries to strip the ball away too often, which at times, allows his man to get needed run after the catch yardage on third downs. He has to become a more secure, consistent and smarter tackler.

BOTTOM LINE
Steve plays cornerback with the same punishing, instinctive, playmaking ability that Troy Polamalu plays with for the Steelers, but he is much better in coverage. Iím sure if you wanted, you could use Steve all over the backfield as a corner, to cover slot receivers or even in the safety position where I know he would make interceptions and intimidate those receivers making those pesky crossing routes without committing head hunting penalties. He is small, but good things come in small packages sometimes. Steve will fight you all game long. In the red zone, he uses excellent techniques to fight off those bigger receivers either pinning them to the sidelines or waiting for them to catch the ball and then while in the air ripping the ball free before the receiver can secure it. You need players with Steveís overall talents and attitude to have a successful defensive backfield because his style of play is contagious. He will not give in, no matter how many times you throw the ball his way. That, along with his ability to play bigger than his size, are the reasons you select him. Truthfully, if Steve were just two inches taller, most would consider him one of the best corners in this draft. I think if he becomes a more consistent tackler in the long run, he just might wind up being just that.

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2015