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The Houston Texans made a bevy of offseason moves.
One such move was headline-grabbing and set the franchise up for future success with a trade deal with the Cleveland Browns. However, that wasn’t the best move the Texans made in the offseason.
According to Brad Spielberger from Pro Football Focus, the best deal Houston made was the signing of cornerback Steven Nelson.
The Texans quietly boast a secondary with five starting-caliber cornerbacks as they look to run new head coach Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 defense. Three of those players — Desmond King II, Tavierre Thomas and Jalen Pitre — can all excel as slot cornerbacks.
However, the addition of Steven Nelson could make the biggest impact. With the Texans using the No. 3 overall pick on cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., Nelson will operate as the outside cornerback opposite the young phenom, allowing Desmond King II to return to the inside or perhaps serve as a strong depth option all over the secondary.
Nelson has played at least 900 snaps in four consecutive seasons and earned a 76.0 coverage grade, which ranks inside the top-25 among outside cornerbacks over the span. He’s a good fit in a zone-heavy scheme, and at just two years, $9 million, he could resemble a great value in an underrated secondary.
Having Nelson in the secondary provides the Texans with veteran leadership and also stability along the outside. Should Stingley have any setbacks in his rehabilitation from a Lisfranc injury combined with the usual rookie transition into pro football, the Texans can at least count on Nelson as a stable force to provide coverage in the passing game.
Nelson told reporters on June 7 during organized team activities that he believes he can provide leadership and experience to the young secondary.
“Leadership, experience, just being a guy that’s been there, been out there, playoff teams and just being in that atmosphere,” Nelson said. “As you know we have a lot of young talent on the team so just kind of being able to be there and lead by example as much as I can.”