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: Which third-year player is more likely to play a significant role for the Steelers this season between Senquez Golson and Sammie Coates?
The Steelers had certain aspirations for the cornerback and wide receiver that they took in the second and third rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft, respectively. There are plans and goals for every draft pick, of course—there would be no point in making the pick if there were not. But these were players who should have made a bigger impact by now.
Two full seasons into their careers, Coates and Golson have combined for about five games’ worth of meaningful contributions, all of which came courtesy of Coates last season. Golson has spent most of his first two seasons on injured reserve, and has never been active for a game due to health.
Both of them can be considered on the roster bubble at this point, but it would be quite unfortunate if things work out that way. With that in mind, I would like to consider which of the two is more likely to make a significant impact in 2017, one long awaited.
For Coates, of course, he has already shown that he can do that. He had over 400 yards and a couple of touchdowns during his five-game body of work before he injured his hand and let it get to his head. He has had about eight months now to rejuvenate himself, so he should be ready to contribute—if he can find a role.
Golson, meanwhile, is so far looking well simply by practicing without incident. He is running with the second-team defense—Coates with the second-team offense—in the slot, where he was working as a starter a year ago before his training camp foot injury.
The Steelers have added players in the second and third rounds this year—this time the wide receiver in the second and the cornerback in the third—who could, however, take their roles on the team, and perhaps even their roster spots. Both of them are facing an uphill battle, but a conquerable hill.
Which side do you lean closer toward?