With spring drills officially over, I think we all understand that we’re all in for a long haul, six weeks in total, between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp. You know the drill. There’s little new information coming out during this period, so it serves as the perfect time both to look back, and to look ahead.
We’re going to be focusing mostly on the latter as we prepare—ever so patiently, of course—for training camp. The Pittsburgh Steelers right now have a fairly young roster with inexperienced players that they are hoping to take on a bigger role. The problem is that in many cases, they are still waiting on those players to show them something, and that is the focus of that series—as well as the occasional veteran with lingering questions.
Show me something, Senquez Golson.
I don’t think there is a single player on the Steelers’ 90-man roster that people are more eager to get a first look at than second-year cornerback Senquez Golson, whom Pittsburgh drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, only to see a chronic shoulder issue lead to a torn labrum that required surgical intervention, causing him to miss the entirety of his rookie training camp—and the season, of course.
His injury forced the Steelers to make a trade for Brandon Boykin just to have depth, though Boykin later became integral during the stretch run as the team’s slot cornerback. That might have been Golson’s role last year had he not been injured.
The 22-year-old has spent most of his spring when on the field working in the slot with the first-team defense, though he has also run on the outside with the second-team defense. The problem is, however, that he actually spent most of his spring off the field.
After a couple of OTA sessions, we found out that Golson was sidelined with some sort of lower body injury that prompted the team to take him for an MRI. He missed most of the rest of the spring sessions, but did make a late appearance at the end of minicamp.
The plan is, naturally, to have him up and running at full capacity once training camp hits several weeks from now, but the fact that we are discussing his ability to be on the field as the main priority is precisely the reason that so many outside observers are concerned.
Even the coaches and his teammates have said that they really don’t know much of anything about Senquez Golson the football player because they have only seen Senquez Golson the football player in drips and drabs over the course of the past 14 months.
For a player expected to open the season in the slot for the Steelers, he has an awful lot to show on the field still. As an outside corner in college, he needs to show that he can adjust to the footwork and angles, not to mention the mentality, that goes along with playing on the inside.
He also has to show that he can overcome his size and height in defending against bigger receivers and in taking on the running game. He needs to show that he is willing to sacrifice his body to make plays, as William Gay does, who is not much bigger. But unfortunately, he needs to show most of all that he has the most important ability of all, and that is availability.