The Pittsburgh Steelers thought they were adding a second-round pick at the cornerback position to their 53-man roster in 2015 when they selected Senquez Golson in the draft. That didn’t pan out when he landed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury that limited him all offseason.
The injury to their rookie cornerback prompted the front office to scramble for depth and they thought they found a valid solution to the problem when they landed Brandon Boykin from the Eagles in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. He didn’t play at first, though by the end of the season he was their starting nickel back.
The Steelers thought they were adding a former second-round cornerback to the position last season with Golson returning from his shoulder injury in 2016 after he missed the entirety of his rookie season. That didn’t work out so well either after he suffered a foot injury just when it looked like he might finally be back on track.
The Steelers did actually leave him on the 53-man roster for several weeks, hoping that he would be able to return during the year, but he ultimately was placed on injured reserve again. His second injury prompted the front office to make a second trade, this time for Justin Gilbert from the Browns for a 2018 sixth-round draft pick. He hardly played at all and returned a few kicks.
Are the Steelers going to head into their third offseason with Golson taking the same approach of viewing him as an extra draft pick at the cornerback position, which would necessarily influence other potential moves that they might make?
It should probably be kept in mind that Pittsburgh still added a first-round cornerback and a safety with slot flexibility in the second round in the 2016 NFL Draft in spite of the fact that they thought they would be getting Golson back on the field.
The Steelers are still waiting to see what they have in Golson, and nobody can say with certainty that they will ever actually get an answer at this point. His injury has prompted the front office to have to invest in the position and give up draft resources in order to make up for his absence, and that cannot continue.
I liked him as a slot option coming out of the draft, and am still hopeful that he will be able to take on that role in 2017 after a series of freak injury issues that have stalled the start of his career. Others are understandably far less optimistic. But Golson is clearly running out of opportunities with the Steelers.