We are now at a point during the offseason in which we find ourselves looking at training camp just around the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league, and a lot has changed for them over the course of the past several months. They have lost a number of players in free agency, through releases, and retirements. But they have also brought in a number of new faces to replace them.
We all know that roster turnover is an ever-present reality for today’s rosters, and it seems that over the course of the past half-decade or so even the Steelers have proven to be as susceptible to the annual shakeup as anybody. With that in mind, we should take the time to get to know some of the new faces with training camp soon to be here.
The Steelers have been into training camp for about two weeks, and they have already had to make some modifications to their 90-man roster in order to account for injuries. Four players have already been added to the roster who were not previously there prior to camp. I think we might as well take them in order.
The first outside addition to the 90-man roster was rookie Penn State safety (#30) Malik Golden. The Steelers brought him aboard because the safety that they signed after the draft in free agency, veteran Daimion Stafford, did not report to training camp, evidently intending to retire.
Golden is the second local safety product that the Steelers brought in as rookie free agents, the first being Pittsburgh safety Terrish Webb. Unfortunately, they both have problems with tackling. While Golden is aggressive in run support, he misses a good number of tackles.
More of a strong than free safety type, most of Golden’s billing has been about his play in the box. He has the size to play there at six feet and over 200 pounds, but you still need the fundamentally sound tackling to get the job done, with mere want-to not being enough in this case.
During his collegiate career, Golden recorded 130 tackles with two interceptions, five passes defensed, and one forced fumble. That is not exactly a glowing resume, but he exhibited enough potential, combined with his natural size and speed, to draw some attention.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers, the Penn State product was released a little over a month after being signed, and it was about a month and a half before the Steelers ended up signing him.
With Mike Mitchell and recently Sean Davis missing some practice time, however, he has at least been afforded the opportunity to get some practice reps. He should also get some playing time perhaps late in tomorrow’s preseason opener. Still, his odds are long for even a spot on the practice squad.