With the 2016 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certainly players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, has sent their stock rising or falling.
Player: CB Senquez Golson
Stock Value: Up
We will know a bit more clearly on this issue shortly after the publication of this article, but the expectation is that Steelers second-year cornerback Senquez Golson is expected to be a full participant in the team’s offseason program this summer, which starts today with OTAs.
Given that he has spent most of the past year dealing with a torn labrum that ultimately resulted in need surgery in early August of 2015, causing him to spend his rookie season on injured reserve, it’s safe to presume that his stock since then is looking up.
How up it is will be interesting to see. Many have presumed that he will open the season as the team’s starting slot cornerback, but it is unlikely, at least in my view, that the coaching staff is looking at him in such a limited scope, and I expect that he will be given time both inside and outside.
The fact of the matter is that he is very much an unknown, given how little of the offseason he was able to participate in last year, which his shoulder injury occurring prior to the team’s break ahead of training camp. OTAs and minicamp are not a whole lot to go by with respect to evaluating what a player is capable of doing within a system, since there is very little installed.
Three cornerbacks from last year are out, and one is in, but Golson has as much experience studying the Steelers’ current defense as just about anybody else on the roster. Only William Gay of the current group of cornerbacks has actually been with the team longer than Golson. You might want to take a moment to think about that fact.
Ross Cockrell ended up playing a significantly bigger role than envisioned last year, but one can wonder how that might have gone differently if Golson was never injured. Might he have moved in and assumed the outside position in the nickel defense rather than Cockrell?
Perhaps this year, Golson will be the nickel cornerback, but Gay will still be the one sliding into the slot. Perhaps Golson will simply start on the outside opposite Gay in the base defense. Perhaps he will even be a reserve as the team’s fourth cornerback behind Artie Burns. There is much unknown about him and where he fits right now.
But at least we will finally begin to see him and what he can do, something that we got just the smallest taste of last year. Given what he went through a year ago, and you can sure there will be even more eyes on him keen on how he’s looking. And I expect the Steelers are looking at a big role for him in the defense this year.