Steelers’ Player Preview: Senquez Golson


All around, the Steelers have gotten high grades for their recent haul from the NFL Draft, but how do high grades in May translate to production in September?

In this installment of player previews, I’ll look at second round pick Senquez Golson.

Going into the draft, it was clear that the Steelers needed to come out with a few new players to compete in the defensive secondary. Yet when they picked Golson in the second round, they received as much negative feedback as positive.

The main–perhaps the only–knock on Golson is size. The Ole Miss product stands just shy of 5’9” and will be tasked with guarding bigger and taller receivers. Critics worry if he’ll be up for it.

As a starter in the SEC, Golson was no stranger to going toe-to-toe with big, athletic receivers. With 10 interceptions in 2014, he showed that he was up to the task.

The rest of Golson’s game is what got him selected in the second round of the NFL Draft. He has outstanding ball skills, good speed, and a willingness to tackle despite his size.

As a highly recruited high school centerfielder (he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2011, but did not sign), Golson exhibits elite ball tracking and hand-eye coordination as well as the closing speed necessary to make a play on the ball instead of the receiver.

Golson is coming in at the right time to be a contributor. There is no doubt that he will have every opportunity to get on the playing field, and fill a position that is in desperate need of talent.

William Gay is the best cornerback on the team, and the depth behind him raises a lot of questions about the Steelers’ ability to compete with elite offenses. Add in the fact that there are questions at safety as well as corner, and the outlook is even murkier.

If Golson were 6’ or even 5’11” he would have been drafted in the first round. There is no doubt that receivers will have a size advantage over him, but he can still have success at the highest level of football. His skill and talent outweigh his shortcomings (it was too easy). And his passion: at age 17 he turned down an MLB contract worth almost two million dollars so he could attend college and play football.

Expect Golson on the field early and often competing with the likes of Cortez Allen and Antwon Blake. The Steelers want the ball in Ben Roethlisberger’s hands as often as possible, and that’s why they drafted Golson. He has some of the best ball skills of any of the defenders drafted this year; not only will he contest the catch, he’ll make it himself.

Next: Morning Huddle

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