NFL Network: Steelers Have Fifth-Best CB Tandem in League

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers secondary saw their biggest improvement since the rebuild of this defense start, in 2019. Lead by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and cornerbacks Joe Haden and Steven Nelson, this group kept a season with little hope alive for all 16 games. 

After a frantic free agency, the NFL has certainly reshaped itself for it's eventual return. Byron Jones left Dallas to head to Miami, Chris  Harris Jr. stayed in the AFC West but decided to move to LA with the Chargers, and while the Patriots lost Tom Brady, they kept their Pro Bowl corners. 

Looking through the revamped cornerback duos in the league, NFL Networked ranked the top 5 for the 2020 season. Coming off a six interception season, Haden and Nelson sit fifth in the NFL Network's standings. 

"Don't let the Steelers' zone-blitz reputation fool you into believing the team's corners aren't capable of locking down opponents on the perimeter," NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks wrote. "Haden and Nelson (and nickel back Mike Hilton) are versatile corners with the capacity to come up with big plays in man or zone coverage. Each is adept at clueing the quarterback to get quicker reads on throws, and their superb technique enables them to maintain proper leverage on their receivers down the field. Given their individual and collective consistency in coverage and their overall physicality/toughness, it is time for the Steelers' corners to get their props for the solid work they do each week."

Nelson and Haden combined for six INTs and 25 pass deflections last season, while the defense allowed the third-fewest passing yards in the NFL (3,113). 

Haden finished off the duo's resume by adding a Pro Bowl selection to the list. After the 2010s Hall of Fame All-Decade team was announced on April 6, Haden also made it known that he believed he should've had another accolade on his accomplishments list.

Nelson and Haden ranked behind all AFC tandems of the Ravens Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, Patriots Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty, Dolphins Byron Jones and Xavier Howard, and Chargers Casey Hayward and Chris Harris Jr.. 

Where do you rank the Steelers cornerback duo? Let us know in the comments below.

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