Two Steelers Players On The Backend Of The Roster That Will Be Tough To Cut

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs Robert Golden and Antwon Blake combined to play all of 56 snaps last year on defense, but both former undrafted free agents will be extremely tough to keep off of the 53 man roster in 2014 just the same.

Golden, who was originally signed by the Steelers in 2012, is still trying to pick up the nuances of the free safety position at the NFL level, but he made great strides last in 2013 as a special teams player.

According to Pro Football Focus, Golden ranked second overall in their culmative special teams ratings with an overall rating of 10.5. His 11 special teams tackles led the team and he was in on 49.5% of all special teams plays (236 snaps).

As for Blake, the Steelers scouting department knew all about him, as he was claimed off of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars during their final waive of cuts.

Last season with the Steelers, Blake logged the most snaps on special teams with 259 of them and he registered nine tackles and two assists.

As far as their positions go on the punt coverage team, Golden made his mark as the Steelers upback, while Blake was an outside gunner. Blake’s ability to beat the double vice on the outside really makes him an asset.

Despite only playing a total of nine defensive snaps during his first two seasons in the league, Blake was referenced by Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake during the 2014 NFL Draft when asked about the depth of the team at the cornerback position.

“Antwon Blake is one, very fast, quick, aggressive corner that I liked coming out of last year” said Lake. “We were fortunate to grab him in free agency, and he’s turned out to be very productive for us especially on special teams.”

Often times the special teams coach will have a lot of say during the final round of cut downs as to which final two or three players will make a 53 man roster. If either Blake or Golden are on the bubble roughly three months from now, because of their play on the defensive side of the football, you can bet that Danny Smith will be banging the table to keep them.

Good core special teams players are tough to find and the Steelers appear to have two of them in Blake and Golden.

  • blue

    2 bums

  • 20Stoney

    After the draft, LeBeau made some comment about corners currently on the roster ready to step up. I had a feeling he was referring to Blake.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I personally don’t have any fears about our CB depth, or finding say 5-6 guys who can contribute and be solid corners. What I worry about is having that #1 guy. Ike isn’t it any more and unless Allen can step up into that role….I worry about it.

  • dgh57

    Try to remember that when one of them makes a game saving tackle inside 2 minutes of the 4th quarter this season and against the Ravens no less!

  • cencalsteeler

    These guys are great special teamers and are nice assets on the secondary depth chart.

  • steeltown

    There are 3 phases to this game, 3, and these two guys are the best on our Team regarding one of those phases.

  • NW86

    Would you like to back this statement up with any facts or analysis?

  • Jollyrob68

    This article just did.

  • cp72

    You don’t appreciate special teams until it starts costing you W’s.

  • ApexSteel

    I don’t have a problem with keeping them up until we can find other players who can play special teams while providing quality depth in the secondary.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’d like to keep Blake! Cuz of his speed, and I’d like to see if he can put it all together with a couple years under Lake.
    Golden, I’m not really attached to. I felt like he had a few chances to show what he’s got but never really sperated himself from that group of back end guys.

  • Dan

    Speaking of players on the bubble making it through special teams, I’m hoping there’ll still be a spot for Garvin. I don’t advocate overrating a player for one special play or one special game, and I know that hit on the Bengals punter last year was a borderline cheap shot, but it was just so great. Anybody remember Hines Ward’s rookie year when he played a lot of special teams? I know I’m not the classiest guy, but I love stuff like that.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    That maybe was the hit of the year

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I knew he was decent at ST’s but did not know he was quite as good as mentioned. I am with you on how Golden plays but ST has become a bigger priority over the last few years

  • Matt Manzo

    Yeah. I do think Zumwalt might make it hard for one of the DBs on the bubble, or in the bubble?!