Even though Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson has two years remaining on his rookie contract it doesn’t sound like the team is counting on him becoming the player they hoped he would be when they drafted him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Mississippi.
During his Thursday talk with the media, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert laid out his current thoughts on Golson, who has yet to play a down in Pittsburgh due to shoulder and foot injuries.
“Last year it was one injury, now it’s two and it’s a foot,” Colbert said, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Anytime a cornerback or a skill guy gets a foot injury, you’re a little concerned. Does he go from being a 4.3 guy to a 4.5? We won’t know until we see him.
“I’m a little more apprehensive. Just from sitting out two years, where you haven’t played at all, it’s not real easy to just step out there and catch up.”
Golson, by the way, reportedly ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.46-seconds at the 2015 scouting combine.
Colbert’s apprehensiveness about Golson is certainly understandable at this point and because of that he’s not ruling out the team addressing the cornerback position during this year’s draft.
“You don’t want to refrain from considering a guy just because of the potential that [Golson] will be OK,” Colbert said, according to Dulac.
After releasing cornerback Justin Gilbert last week, the Steelers were left with four cornerbacks under contract for the 2017 season who were on the roster in 2016 and that includes Golson, who was placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured list midway through the regular season after rehabbing his surgically repaired Lisfranc injury that he suffered during training camp for several weeks.
While last year’s starting cornerback Ross Cockrell is also likely to be back with the team in 2017 after he receives a restricted free agent tender in the coming weeks, the Steelers could still use another young cornerback to groom.
Golson has a lot to prove this offseason and that starts with him making to the regular season healthy for the first time during his young career. He’ll likely be given every opportunity to compete for a starting nickel corner spot during training camp and at worst hopefully make the team as a depth option and core special team contributor.
While the Steelers might not ultimately use their first-round draft pick this year on a cornerback again like they did last year, you’d have to think that any round after that the position will be strongly considered and with good reason.
As we’ve written about several times, the Steelers could use a short-term and definitely need a long-term upgrade at slot corner. William Gay saw regression last year even if some of it was overstated and Golson has proven unreliable.
Tennessee’s Cam Sutton and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis are two potential players who could fill in that role. So is Miami (FL)’s Corn Elder, a player we will profile tomorrow morning for Steelers Depot. Elder could be had with a mid-round pick whereas Sutton and Lewis will be off the board by the end of the second round.
We’ve also mentioned possible free agents the Steelers could bring in, allowing Gay to become the backup at all three spots and round out the team’s depth. Captain Munnerlyn is expected to hit the market, D.J. Hayden is a high-profile name who played well when healthy while Kayvon Webster is a low-tier option who should be had for cheap.