Philadelphia Eagles secondary adds security with Steven Nelson addition

Steven Nelson, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Steven Nelson, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

It happened. The Philadelphia Eagles get their answer opposite of Darius Slay. After what felt like an eternity, the Steven Nelson acquisition that we anticipated is complete. It is reportedly a one-year deal worth over four million. Philadelphia needed another true outside corner to pair with Big Play, and this move also allows Avonte Maddox to move into the slot where he is much more equipped to play at his size.

For a team that has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons, Nelson will not be much of a concern in that regard. He has missed just two games over the past three seasons starting 46 out of 48 possible games. In that span, he has posted seven interceptions and 153 solo tackles.

Even when he allows a catch, he tends to wrap up and prevent big plays. He only six missed tackles and allowed 98 yards after the catch in 2019. Nelson has allowed a sub-60 completion percentage in each of the past three seasons. In 2018 and 2019, he hovered closer to just 50 percent completion.

Philadelphia Eagles fans should expect a bounceback year from Nelson in 2021.

2020 was not Nelson’s best season. Let’s not sugarcoat it. He allowed 732 yards, seven touchdowns, 318 yards after the catch, and a allowed a 97 passer rating when opposing quarterbacks threw in his direction. His only two interceptions came off of poor passes from Carson Wentz, and one of those was a desperation heave at the end of the game.

The 28-year-old will have to bounce back in 2020. His track record provides hope that he can. The Philadelphia Eagles are hoping that they get the same Steven Nelson who didn’t allow a touchdown in the 2019 season, the same Steven Nelson who had four interceptions in 2018, and the same Steven Nelson who held his own against Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

If Nelson doesn’t play at a Pro-Bowl level, this move still prevents the Eagles from throwing their young corners into the fire before they are ready. There is a balance between seeing who sinks or swims and ruining the confidence levels of young players. Last year, the Eagles left Michael Jacquet on an island too long against Michael Gallup and the Dallas Cowboys receiving core. Signing Nelson allows guys like Jacquet, Zach McPhearson, Shakial Taylor, Craig James, and Josiah Scott to take a backseat and learn.

Trending. 2 questions after Eagles add Steven Nelson. light

It’s safe to say that most of those guys are not ready to start in 2021. The Eagles did not have an answer last year at the second outside cornerback position. Nelson at his 2020 level of performance is still better than what the Philadelphia Eagles have on their roster.

It’s only a one-year prove-it deal so he will not return if he does not play well. There is plenty of incentive for him to perform at a high level and earn either an extension in Philly or earn a big deal elsewhere in 2022 before he enters his thirties in a couple of seasons. The Slay-Nelson-Harris-McLeod core in the secondary should be a joy to watch in 2021.