Danish offensive lineman, Steven Nielsen may not have been drafted but he now can call himself an NFL player after the Jacksonville Jaguars signed him within hours of the 2020 NFL Draft being over.
The 6’8″, 315 pound Nielsen from Dragør, Denmark, whose mother club was Afc Ørestaden Spartans, played for four years at Eastern Michigan University and had been projected either as a late-round draft pick or an immediate free agent signing after the draft.
So, for the second year in a row and the third time in four years, a Danish football player has signed with an NFL team. Last year, Hjalte Froholdt was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round, and in 2017 Andreas Knappe signed with the Atlanta Falcons.
A 2019 First Team Preseason All-MAC preseason pick from both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, Nielsen started all 13 games for Eastern Michigan on the offensive line in 2019. His unit was responsible for a regular season in which the EMU offense racked up 25 touchdown passes, an all-time school record, 3,370 yards of passing offense, second in school history, and 349 total points, which ranks fourth in EMU history.
Overall, Nielsen played in 49 games in his Eagle career, and helped Eastern Michigan reach three postseason bowl games (Bahamas – 2016, Camellia – 2018, Quick Lane – 2019), as well as three consecutive wins over Power Five opponents (Rutgers – 2017, Purdue – 2018, Illinois – 2019). He received Third Team All-MAC honors following the 2018 season.
There were a handful of clubs in search of the athletic offensive lineman, but eventually, Nielsen chose the Jaguars.
As he explained to the Danish American football website gulklud.com from his residence in Ohio, he had spoken with several teams:
“There were several teams interested, and I had been in contact with the Jaguars over the past few days. It’s the best opportunity for me to get on the team, and the Jaguars give good chances to free agents.”