Versatility and athleticism are two major points of emphasis for the Steelers in 2014, based on their draft and free agency acquisitions. That doesn't mean every player on the roster needed to go, nor did it mean technical ability is taking a back seat to the Run-and-Hit mentality of today's Steelers.
For example, this bit from Tribune Review reporter Alan Robinson in his blog Friday.
Mitchell made an interesting observation about backup safety Robert Golden, a former undrafted free agent who played mostly on special teams last season. (And played well enough there that Pro Football Focus rated Golden as the NFL’s second-best special teams defender last season.)
"He’s probably got the smoothest back pedal in the league for a safety," Mitchell said.
Robert Golden's Back Pedal sounds like a good screen name, no?
Golden has kept a roster spot the hard way. He doesn't have Mitchell's athleticism, but his standout effort on special teams helped him carve a spot on the gameday lineup that's difficult to ignore. Plus, Golden was a player in college who played both cornerback and safety, giving him a fit with the versatility angle of the Steelers' defense.
Special teams contributions or not, the Steelers' secondary will have a lot of tough cuts after preseason. Golden's ability to chase down kick returners, as well as his back pedal, will give him a good shot.