This time of the preseason serves as an opportunity to remind the players often forgotten about, the UDFAs, the long shots, the guys people call “camp bodies,” still have a chance to make the team and an impact in the league.
For Mike Tomlin, there may be no better example of that on the Pittsburgh Steelers than Robert Golden.
“Been really impressed with his work,” Tomlin told reporters after being asked to evaluate Golden’s play. “He’s a big time professional. He’s a detail guy.He’s a great communicator. He’s a classic example of a guy taking an opportunity and growing within an environment. He made the team as an undrafted guy, he became a core special teams player, he’s become a situational defender, and now he’s working to become a core defender.”
After average production at Arizona and only moderately better testing at his Pro Day, the Steelers scooped him up as a UDFA in 2012. He became the one of the Steelers’ special teams captains and even now that he’s the starting strong safety, still serves as the upback – the quarterback – on punt coverage. In his three starts for Will Allen last season, he maintained all of his special teams duties, showing a high level of conditioning to handle both roles.
As the Steelers transitioned to a dime defense at the end of last season, Golden got the nod as the 6th defensive back. He finished the season with 36 tackles and his first career interception, a 27 yard return against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Based on his reliable play and the injury to Senquez Golson that shifted Sean Davis to the slot, Golden is locked in as the starter opposite Mike Mitchell. He still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for playing some really solid football last year and you – or I, at least – would argue he’s the most underrated player by his own fanbase.
Either way, Tomlin is happy to have him around.
“Really it’s just a tribute to him and his approach to business and his overall professionalism.”