Versatile Robert Golden Playing All The Positions In The Steelers Secondary

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a gift following the 2012 NFL Draft when they were able to land Robert Golden as an undrafted free agent. With one season now under his belt, they will expect him to take another step forward in 2013 as they start to prepare for the unavoidable changing of the guard at both safety positions that could take place as early as 2014.

Golden only played 46 snaps on defense during his rookie season, but he told David Todd of ESPN 970 Radio Thursday how much that little bit of playing time helped him.

“Any experience is great experience, especially for a first-year player,” said Golden. “The more experience the better, just being out there, getting in the game with the speed it definitely helped me out for this year, because it took me into my offseason knowing what I had to work on and knowing what I had to get better on as far as the game goes. So it definitely helped me out just with the experience that I had.”

Golden was already a versatile defensive back when he arrived in Pittsburgh as he played both cornerback and safety while at Arizona. However, being as he was so versatile, he was surprised that he wasn\’t drafted.

“I was definitely surprised,” said Golden, who went back to Arizona this past offseason to train. “Especially just going through the whole process. I played cornerback a lot in my college career and then played a little safety, and because of my versatility, I thought it was going to help me out a lot, but obviously, it didn\’t in the draft, but it definitely helped me out once I made the team.”

One way that Golden might very well help the Steelers in 2013 is if they use him in the slot occasionally as a nickelback in some Big Nickel packages. The Steelers like their safeties to understand not only both safety roles, but the nickel role as well and Golden told Todd he\’s been getting work all over the secondary this year in training camp.

“They still move me around at corner, move me around at nickel,” he said. “I\’m pretty much playing all the different positions that you can play in the secondary, which is a plus for me.”

Another plus when it comes to Golden is his ability to contribute on special teams, and that is a job he not only knows he has to do, but also embraces.

“That\’s something that I want to do,” said Golden, who recorded two special teams tackles as a rookie. “Whatever I can do to help this team and help myself is what I want to do.”

Baring injury, Golden isn\’t likely to play a lot on defense this year, but being as he plays behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, and is being coached by both Carnell Lake and Rod Woodson, he knows he is in a good place.

“Those guys are very teachable,” said Golden. “They can tell you what to do, but they can also show what to do, and they can also tell you from their own experience what they did when they were in those certain situations. So it helps me out a lot, especially in the film room where they can get up there and draw it up on the board and go over it in the field room as well.”

Golden doesn\’t know for sure how many snaps he\’ll play this week in the Steelers second preseason game against the Washington Redskins Monday night, but you can expect him to be versatile nonetheless.

“Whatever the coaches present to me, I\’m going to go out there and attack,” he said. “I like being out there on defense, but like I say, I know I\’m going to have to go out there and make plays on special teams as well. So I\’m going to be out there and whenever the coaches throw me in at defense you know I\’m going to be ready to go.”

You can hear Todd\’s entire interview with Golden below.

  • steeltown

    I was very pleased that they chose to keep this guy on the 53man last year.. they saw potential there, very good athlete

  • JPDQ

    Sounds promising. Seems this is the way of the NFL today, or at least the Pittsburgh Steelers of today – guys with multiple position flexibility. I’m not sure what that really says about how the game is played now, but I guess when you have as many injuries as teams do, what choice do you have?

    On a side note, did he really say in reference to Rod and Carnell, “those guys are very teachable” ? Had to laugh when I read that.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I can remember last year and taking notice of him. Nice to see the continued growth. That is what is worrying me about A. Robinson who hasn’t had that same spark…hoping to see more.

  • sgtrobo

    still don’t get why Golden wasn’t drafted. I was a big fan of his coming out. Makes no real sense. Good size, good speed, good skill, versatile.

  • cencalsteeler

    A friend of mine coached him. He too was surprised at him not being drafted. He told me how mature he was and a class act kid. He says the Steelers have a gem and I tend to agree.

  • dgh57

    Sometimes players fall through the cracks so to speak and our scouts were there to pick him up. I’ll be looking forward to seeing him play Monday and hope he gets plenty of playing time.

  • SteelersDepot

    He actually did say that. I’ts not my bad transcription.

  • JPDQ

    I don’t doubt it, trust me.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Great article. In some ways, Golden represents the epitome of what the Steelers are all about. So many of our players come in here humbly with very little fan fare. Just good athletes who love football and work hard and are willing to do anything to help the team win.

  • Toddy Bravo

    I chose to believe he was referring to 43 and 25 being “coachable” players when they were young players, a trait he’s trying to emulate. 🙂

  • alex

    not enough can be said about having Lake, Woodson, and even Ike out there teaching these kids the ropes…Golden looks to be on schedule, but its really about Brown and Van Dyke.

  • Brendon Glad

    I like Golden. I’m a sucker for DB’s who get their hands on lots of footballs. It’s always better if they also catch them…but getting hands on balls is still better than not as long as they aren’t jeopardizing the defense.
    Since I’ve only seen Golden for about 6-8 quarters worth of football, I can’t say for sure…but I’ll throw a name out there which shouldn’t be too presumptuous…Chris Oldham.
    He was always one of my unsung favorites during the early Cowher years. Seems like Golden has more than a decent chance of becoming something like that, and possibly even more.
    Glad to see him continuing his improvement and development.

  • Brendon Glad

    I agree with you on both for the most part. Like Golden a lot. I see some Chris Oldham in him (one of my favorite unsung Steelers from the Cowher era)
    On Robinson, he did recover a fumble for a Touchdown. So it wasn’t spectacular, but not poor either.
    I’m a believer in him though. So I lean toward the positives with him at this point. I just hope he is able to be a “STEELER OLB”. Steeler olb’s are asked to do a ton, as we well know. And not all of them can handle it right away. Even Mike Vrabel took one year too long before it clicked for him at LB…and he did his best work not as a 3-4 OLB…although he became good at that too, eventually.
    So i’ve definitely seen enough to know A-rob will find a nice niche in the league. But if he’s only a pass-rushing specialist he may end up as a 4-3 DE somewhere else. I’m hoping he does enough to get one more year to develop with us.
    So the TD made me very happy. Big plays always help, even if it’s falling on fumbles. Because someone’s gotta do it. On most fumbles usually about 2-3 front-seven defenders or OL miss them before someone seals the deal.

  • Brendon Glad

    I wish I knew why it happens the way it does.
    But I have 2.5 theories as to why:
    1) NCAAF is quite a different game from NFL football. That sounds obvious, but I mean it in the literal sense. For example, it’s enough of a different game that I don’t even like College Football at all. And in most conferences (including the Pac-20, or whatever it is)…it makes DB’s look PRETTY bad…the wider hashes and game-clock stoppages probably made Golden give up a lot of big plays at old Arizona.
    1b) When you factor Big-11 and Pac-20 football into the mix…and try to compare the defensive players playing there to those playing SEC or Big 10 football, it probably is quite confusing for scouts. Because those conferences are so different in style during most years that it’s probably like trying to project a Euro basketball player to the NBA.

    2) This one is my BIG one…but it’s more of an answer within a question…does ANYONE know why all of the “combine-workout-stuff” is done without pads, without helmets, and in track shoes?
    If I had ONE question to ask to an NFL exec. THAT would be my first one. I’ve wracked my brain from everything from liability issues to stubbornness…to they just haven’t happened to think of it. I have zero idea.
    Because I played high-school football. Started on a state-champ team…ran LOTS of sprints both in-pads and without. And I did NOT carry my pads as well as some others on my team. So you tend to notice things like that as a kid when guys you are competing for a job against you can beat in the sprints without pads, but beat you soundly when you are in full-pads.

    So those are my 2.5 theories on why so many guys fall through the cracks in the NFL draft.
    And ANYONE who has the answer to my #2)…please do tell. It’s been perplexing me for 20 years any time I happen to think about it.