You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.
In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.
When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.
Topic: Assuming that he actually proves to be healthy, is cornerback Senquez Golson going to be given every opportunity to earn a regular role in the defense?
The Steelers coveted cornerback Senquez Golson in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft so much that they even claimed after the draft that they explored the possibility of trading up to get him in order to assure that they would be able to get him.
In spite of the fact that he lacks ideal height for—really, any position in the league—what they saw in the Ole Miss product was somebody who could play up on a man and flash playmaking skills. He came out early after recording 10 interceptions in his final season.
Of course, he ended up on injured reserve for most of his first two seasons with a shoulder injury and then a foot injury. Last year, he was working as the starting slot cornerback up until he went down with a foot injury, but the team has been speaking of him differently this time.
It largely sounds as though they view Golson at this point as an afterthought, and that anything he manages to provide will be a bonus. Which really isn’t untrue, but one might be led to wonder if he could get overlooked for a role as a result of this.
Last year, there was discussion that Golson would even be given an opportunity to compete on the outside and not be limited to the slot. That seems unlikely now, but they could give him a long look back in the slot as they did last year.
He still has the ball skills that he had in college. That isn’t really something that fades away. And the linebackers last season picked off more passes than the secondary. If that isn’t reason to give him every chance to get his presumed playmaking on the field, I don’t know what is.
Of course, they already have William Gay in the slot, who was previously needed outside, so perhaps the urgency to find him a role is seen as lessened. And there’s a good chance that they draft a cornerback high in the draft that he would have to compete against for a role. They have already shown a willingness to play rookies.
Which side do you lean closer toward?