2015 NFL Draft Profile: Steven Nelson, CB Oregon State


Oregon State cornerback Steven Nelson is one of those guys that just can’t please everyone.  He’s got a motor that just won’t quit, is physical enough to deal with tough wideouts, and is a strong with his tackles that finish to the ground.  He’s one of those guys that you don’t mind if he’s your last line of defense because he’ll likely make the stop.

Despite how solid of a tackler he is, there are some places where his game needs a lot of work.  His footwork and speed when changing directions is a definite concern.  If he’s beaten deep by a wide receiver, odds are that he’ll need help over the top or he’ll never close the gap.  Because of that, he figures to work well in a Tampa-2 type defense.  Which is a shame, because his physical traits would project much better to being a man corner.

It’s a shame that he’ll likely be limited as to what teams can draft him based on his skill set.  While I don’t see Nelson as a starting caliber corner without a lot of coaching, in some schemes he could contribute in packages with deep safeties immediately until he gets a grip on the other parts of his game.

Jan 24, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad defensive corner Steven Nelson of Oregon State (2) enters the field during player introductions before the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The North won, 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Combine Measurables:

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 197 pounds
  • Arm Length: 30 5/8″
  • Hand Size: 9 1/4″
  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds
  • Bench Press: 19 reps
  • Vertical Jump: 34.5″
  • Broad Jump: 115″
  • 3 Cone Drill: 6.88 seconds
  • 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.07 seconds
  • 60 Yard Shuttle: 11.52 seconds

Draft Projection

 Steven Nelson is currently the #109 overall prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft according to CBS Sports and is their 14th best cornerback in the draft class.  They project him to be a third to fourth round draft pick.

NFL Player Comparison

Fit For The Vikings

Minnesota will be looking for a cornerback to start opposite Xavier Rhodes or to add depth or competition in the secondary.

My Take

I don’t think Steven Nelson is a good fit for the Vikings defensive scheme.  Minnesota will likely look for a player who they can rely on more in man coverage so they can be more aggressive with the pass rush.  Because of that, I don’t see Nelson in the Vikings draft plans at all.  However, he could make a team like the Buccaneers quite happy in the 4th round.

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