The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up thirty-fourth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of safety Robert Golden.
Intro: Golden started 7 games in 2016 and even so, still only wound playing just 36% of all defensive snaps during the regular season. Most of his play was spent as a box safety. The former undrafted free agent out of Arizona ended the regular season with 34 total tackles and one pass defensed. Two of those total tackles came on special teams and both were assisted.
Current Strengths: Golden is physical safety and thus best suited to play near the line of scrimmage. He reads and reacts reasonably well against running plays. Run fits are consistently strong and he does well to fill the alley as a strong safety. He’s a fairly reliable tackler overall. Zone coverage capable and plays better when play is in front of him. Experienced and dependable special teams player. Capable of playing either safety spot on defense.
Current Weaknesses: Golden is not overly strong in coverage and especially when asked to man-up. Can get turned around easily in the middle of the field and even by some tight ends. Doesn’t react and diagnose as quickly as he does against the run while in deep coverages. Doesn’t make many splash plays.
2017 Outlook: Golden enters training camp this year as a backup and the odds on favorite to be the special teams captain once again. Barring injuries, he doesn’t figure to see the field much on defense in 2017.
2017 Base Salary: $1,465,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $1,881,666
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Missed two games with hamstring injury and another with ankle injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 377 of 1,046
2016 Stat That Matters: Six solo run tackles for stops