The Pittsburgh Steelers used two draft picks this offseason to boost their defensive backfield, but will a strong start by these rookies mean the end of someone else’s run?
It’s been two years since Senquez Golson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the team has yet to see him play a down in the NFL. The former second-round pick in 2015 has missed his first two seasons in the league due to injuries.
After two years, the Steelers may have finally put together a complete secondary. With the emergence of Sean Davis and Artie Burns in their rookie campaigns and adding Ross Cockrell to the outside, Pittsburgh has a set of defensive backs they can rely on moving forward.
The Steelers weren’t done though, adding two more secondary players during the 2017 NFL Draft; Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen.
Both players are guys who needs some work but can have an impact on this team immediately. Sutton, an all-around defender, can step in as the nickelback or help out at safety. For Allen, he’s a turnover machine, being one of the best coverage corners in this year’s draft. As an outside corner, he’ll work with Burns and Cockrell while he finishes his development throughout the season.
This could mean trouble for the unproven Golson. With nothing to look back on except for his college experience, coaches have no idea what he can bring to the table. In football, two years is a long time to miss. Meaning, Golson is going to have to prove himself just as much as these rookies if he wants any playing time.
Prior to the draft, fans were excited for the future of Golson. 2017 may finally be the year he sees the field. With the potential he had leaving college, the Steelers have been waiting for him to make an impact on this team.
Now, he’s nothing more than an unproven rookie. While Sutton and Allen start from the bottom, Golson will be working below them trying to show he hasn’t missed a step over the last two years. With the way this secondary is rounding out, that’s a lot to prove in one offseason.
Pittsburgh isn’t going to dump Golson. His upside out of college was too high not to give him at least a chance. It could mean the beginning of the end, though. If Sutton can prove he’s the stronger nickel, the position Golson would’ve likely played last season, Pittsburgh, Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin may begin thinking of moving on.
Having extra talent off the bench is always a plus, but with only two years left on his contract, the Steelers may begin weeding him out of the rotation to make room for their two rookies.
Nothing is guaranteed, and Golson could come back just as strong as he left. He could also need more time to get back to playing shape, meaning Sutton and Allen will get the first shot at proving themselves.
There’s a long offseason ahead. At this point how each player will perform is nothing more than speculation. In this scenario, though, Golson has a lot more convincing to do than his rookie competition.