2. CB Steven Nelson
Last offseason, general manager Kevin Colbert addressed the Steelers’ shaky defense with free-agent additions such as linebacker Mark Barron and cornerback Steven Nelson while giving up the club’s 2020 first-round draft choice to the Miami Dolphins for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in September. While the former proved to be a disappointment and was let go earlier this year, Fitzpatrick more than exceeded expectations and wound up earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in his first season with the team thanks to 57 tackles, five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and nine passes defensed. He returned two of his seven takeaways for touchdowns.
But Nelson also proved his worth after inking a three-year, $25 million deal (via Spotrac) a year ago. The former member of the Kansas Chiefs finished the year with 61 tackles, eight passes defensed and a pair of takeaways. He also earned a Top 10 grade at his position from Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
The 2015 third-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs did not intercept a pass in his first three seasons in the league. Now over the past two years there have been five picks and 23 passes defensed. Can you say late-bloomer when it comes to the former Oregon State product?
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