Senquez Golson Dealt High Expectations Of High Draft Pick Without Margin Of Error

There have been a lot of words of warning churned out over the past couple of months with regards to third-year Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson. General Manager Kevin Colbert sent out the signal early in the offseason when he talked about being concerned with a player coming off a foot injury and two years out of football.

His position coach, Carnell Lake, talked about his need to make himself useful to another coach, Danny Smith, who is in charge of special teams. He may have been a high draft pick a couple of years ago, but time flies when you’re on injured reserve. His redshirt years are over, and now he must sink or swim.

But that doesn’t mean that they are not still holding him to high standards, as he is himself. Golson said during the spring that he believes he is still the same player that the Steelers drafted two years ago, and that it’s essentially just a matter of having the opportunity to demonstrate it.

“At this point”, he told reporters, “the only thing I am missing is the in-game experience. I’ve pretty much got the basics down”. And he should, of course, after having two years in the system, a fact of which Lake is very aware.

He told Joe Rutter that “being in the system two years, more is expected” of Golson, even though he spent much of those two years unable to get the physical reps because of the injuries that have kept him off the practice field for most of the past two years.

The defensive backs coach does also understand that there once was a pretty good reason that they drafted him where they did two years ago. “Being looked at as a second-round guy”, he reminded reporters, “we’re going toe expect more out of him just because of where we got him even though he missed two years”.

So, basically, Golson is in a position right now in which he is being expected to perform as though he is second-round pick, but without the roster protection of a new second-round draft pick. If JuJu Smith-Schuster were to struggle this season, he is still going to make the roster. If Golson struggles, he will be hoping to make some other roster.

Lake said that the Steelers are “not holding back in any way” when it comes to Golson, but the fact that he has nearly a dozen and a half defensive backs to work with simply means that there are only so many practice reps to go around, so opportunities are going to be scarce for many.

It should go without saying that this is a critical time for the Ole Miss product that will go a long way toward determining whether or not he has a future in the NFL. “It’s the reality” of the situation”, he said. “But I gotta do what I gotta do”.

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Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • A tough way to start a pro career for sure. If he can redeem himself, it is certainly a good problem to have.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    The best ability is availability. This player has had zero.

    If he takes a meaningful snap, I’ll start paying attn.

  • Rodney JEune

    I hope he ends up on the 53 . Sucks for a guy who never got injured and refused baseball money

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I’m hopeful (and have been one of Golson’s biggest supporters on this site).

    I think if he is healthy (and remains so) then he not only makes the roster but pushes for the slot position starter. I do agree those are big “ifs”. Despite my hope/support, I completely agree with the sentiment that he is cuttable now if he doesn’t perform or if he gets re-injured prior to proving anything.

  • Andrew Norwood

    Yeah I agree with you. I don’t know how much money he was going to get, but I always liked the fact that he chose football over baseball in spite of the fact that careers are longer and salaries higher in baseball. But, I’ve also wondered if the training time missed while playing baseball at Ole Miss could’ve prevented that shoulder injury that shelved him right at the start of his pro career. Currently has him with ZERO margin for error.

  • Terrible Towlie

    Football much more manly and honorable than baseball

  • Quan Hurst

    He will make the team by making Gay expendable…

  • Michael Conrad

    The first knock on him is he is not a man CB. The second is his injury history. I think he is in a fight with Gay and Hilton for the slot spot and only two will stay as Sutton could play the slot. We have no Idea of his ability’s as he has not played a preseason game snap. Some draft analysts though he was a reach in the second round. I would think his chances are less the 50/50 to make the team. I hope he out plays Gay its time for Gay to step aside.

  • Ken

    The ole injury prone talk cracks me up, if you don’t get injured that’s pure luck. If you do get injured it should be expected. its a rough game – some get lucky and avoid it, Golson just hasnt been lucky.