"Who's playing well at safety this year? I would say Reggie Nelson, but he plays for the Bengals, nah, I can't do that," Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey says to start out the video introducing Reggie Nelson as the 60th ranked player on the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2016 ranking, based on player polling.
The former Bengals safety had his best statistical season in the NFL in 2015, but after failing to come to terms with the Bengals on a new deal, Nelson left the team in free agency to join the Oakland Raiders. In 2015, Nelson had 52 solo tackles, 25 assisted tackles, 14 passes defensed and a league-leading 8 interceptions.
Some of Nelson's best games in stripes came against Heyward-Bey's Steelers, as Nelson was Ben Roethlisberger's worst nightmare. Luckily for Big Ben, the Steelers won't face the Raiders in 2016 and Roethlisberger will no longer be tortured by Nelson twice a year.
There would have been more opportunity for Nelson to grab some Roethlisberger passes in 2016, but Nelson was injured in the first half of the Bengals' playoff loss to the Steelers. The ankle injury he sustained was also enough to keep him out of the first Pro Bowl he was selected to.
"He just has a knack for reading the quarterback's eyes and timing the ball and getting it at its highest point," former Bengals teammate Tyler Eifert said of Nelson in the Top 100 Players video.
"He's a ball hawking safety. When the ball in the air, you're gonna see Reggie Nelson by the ball," Dolphins safety Reshad Jones said.
While Nelson won't be a Bengal in 2016, we wish him the best in Oakland.