Breakdown: Steelers Select Senquez Golson

Everything you need to know about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-round selection of cornerback Senquez Golson out of Ole Miss from Scout's college and pro football experts.

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Senquez Golson
Mississippi / 5'9 / 176 lbs
  • CB
  • [2] #24


Golson started 33 of 49 games at Mississippi, recording 136 tackles (96 solos) with an assisted sack, six stops for losses of 15 yards and two quarterback pressures…Gained 232 yards from 16 interception returns that included one touchdown and also broke up 15 other tosses.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:

Senquez Golson is now headed to Pittsburg. This is a smaller cornerback who’s a terrific athlete (also baseball player). He has terrific speed and ball skills. Golson excelled in zone coverage for the Rebels and made a ton of plays for their secondary. Golson is terrific in the air and plays bigger than his size. He will need to develop his man-cover skills as a Steeler. Last season he recorded 10 picks.

Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:

The Mississippi coaches had to decide what course of action they would take with Senquez Golson, who had a late July trial after he was arrested in June for failure to comply with the officer at 5 a.m. and was taken to the Adult Detention Center before being released on bond. He had started 10 games in 2013, recording 41 tackles with two pass thefts while making the transition to the gridiron from the baseball diamond.

Selected in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by Boston with the 262nd overall pick as a center fielder, he played both sports at Ole Miss in 2012 before concentrating on football last season.

The staff allowed Golson to start all season and he rewarded them with a nation-best 10 interceptions, tying the school’s season record, returning those thefts for 162 yards, and also had 43 tackles and eight pass breakups. That would earn him consensus All-America first-team and All-Southeastern honors. Named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, he was also a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist and semifinalist for both the Chuck Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award. His highlight for the year was when he intercepted a pass in the end zone with 37 seconds left to seal an upset victory over Alabama.

With Golson leading the secondary, Ole Miss led the nation in scoring defense (13.8 ppg) and fewest touchdowns allowed (18). He is known to be a great competitor at cornerback who shows good lockdown cover skills and can play on an island. He has excellent playing speed and shows loose hips turning and running stride for stride with faster receivers, as opponents generally find it very difficult to create separation on him, thanks to Golson’s recovery quickness and direct angles out of his breaks.

The Rebel has excellent speed and burst to make plays on the ball in the air and shows urgency getting to the perimeter to attack the ball carrier. He is fluid opening his hips and turning on the ball in front of him. He has the speed to cover deep but will get turned around some by play-action. His burst to close is sudden and he can cover a lot of distance with his second gear.

He makes good body adjustments attacking the ball in the air. He times his leaps well to get to the pass at its high point but will lose some battles vs. the larger receivers due to height issues. Still, he has excellent hip flexibility when leaping and adjusting to the ball, just needing a little technique refinement (needs to stay at a lower pad level).

What worries NFL decision-makers is that Golson has a thin, narrow frame, lacking the ability to add any more bulk without having it impact his quickness and lateral range. If you look at recent drafts, sub-180-pound cornerbacks have not exactly filled the first- and second-day draft events.

Golson also lacks the long arms teams look for in a defensive back, but he does appear to have larger than normal hands (9 3/8-inches) than most players his size. He possesses a quick burst attacking the line of scrimmage but fails to take consistent angles in the run game. With 136 tackles in 49 games, he has adequate power (15 reps in the 225-pound bench press), but he needs to break down better and will often take a side or whiff when needing to make contact.

What Golson does well is pick off the ball, more so due to timing rather than elite leaping ability. He shows the ability to set his feet and take proper angles toward his target in the passing game after he gives up a completion. He has the ability to wrap, but you would like to see him use his legs through contact better and concentrate on getting his man on the ground rather than latch on and wait for help.

Even at 176 pounds, Golson has shown the ability to sit into his drop off the line in press coverage. He will never be confused for a physical bump-and-run specialist, but he does have decent lateral quickness when asked to mirror, demonstrating better balance upon contact last season than in his previous three seasons.

Golson displays above-average zone concepts, as he does a nice job of keeping his eyes in the backfield and using his closing burst to drive on the ball vs. plays in front of him. When he keeps his pads at the proper level and lowers his base he does not take extra steps in transition and has a good concept for utilizing good angles toward the ball.

His baseball base-running skills come into play for the way he can open up his hips and turn to close on the ball in flight. His 4.46-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis proves that he has above-average straight-line speed and it does not take much for him to accelerate to top speed or when having to redirect. He also excels as a ball thief due to his great instincts when jumping receivers in the secondary and he’s a savvy sort who knows how to disrupt the receiver’s timing running down the field.

Senquez Golson Scouting Combine measurables

5-9/176 (4.46 forty)
29 6/8-inch arm length
9 3/8-inch hands
15-reps bench 33 1/2-inch vertical jump
10-foot broad jump
6.81 3 cone drill
4.20 20 yard shuttle
No 60 yard shuttle

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.


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