Earlier this week, Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith gave a strong signal during Houston’s offseason program kickoff press conference regarding the team’s cornerback room.
“Our play at the cornerback position last year was not good enough. It’s as simple as that,” Smith said. “We can’t play the type of football that we want to play until we get better at the cornerback position, I will say that.”
Today, Smith (and the front office) moved closer to being able to play their preferred style of football by signing veteran CB Steven Nelson to a two-year, $10 million contract.
The Texans are signing former Eagles cornerback Steven Nelson, per source. The seven-year veteran addresses a key position of need.— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) April 13, 2022
Texans signed veteran corner Steven Nelson to a two-year, $10 million, per a league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 13, 2022
Nelson (29) will suit up for his eighth NFL season after previous stints with Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.
Drafted in the third round in 2015 out of Oregon State by the Chiefs, Nelson has spent his previous seasons starting as an outside corner (often tracking the Z receiver on opposing offenses) and likely projects into a starting role in Houston.
In 2021, Nelson recorded 50 tackles, 1 interception, and had 7 pass breakups. Outside of his rookie year, he has never had a PFF overall average of under 60 and has particularly excelled in run defense, averaging run defense grades of over 68 in 5 of his 7 years.
The Texans could likely still address the cornerback position in the NFL Draft, but the addition of Nelson adds increased stability and experience (if not youth) to a defensive backfield ranked near the bottom of the league in 2021.