The Steelers' 2013 draft netted them four players who filled significant roles last season. They aren't the only ones to focus on, however. Several players from the past few drafts have been developing over the last few seasons, and this is look at those players.
In terms of Pro Football Focus ratings, Steelers safety Robert Golden was the second-best special teams defender in the NFL last season. The former undrafted free agent out of Arizona may end up being more Ryan Mundy than Ryan Clark - a spot-starter with high kicks coverage value - but that doesn't diminish the fact he's showing his worth in an area of the game.
Lessons can be learned from such things. His job, currently, is to be the best special teams player he can be, and he's doing exactly that for the Steelers. Maybe his success in that role will lead to increased looks at the Steelers' ever-evolving definition of their safety positions.
Golden was brought in to fill a role the team has been looking to fill over the last few years. A hybrid S/CB spot that could handle coverage duties on the outside as well as in-the-box run support, as dictated by the opposing offense. Part of the reason such a role is needed is due to the larger pass-catching tight ends that roam the field like the Mastadons of ancient times. The other reason, and perhaps the more applicable one, is the emergence of no-huddle offenses that look to exploit match-up advantages perceived by personnel on the field.
The more well-rounded a team's defense, the harder it is to attack those weaknesses.
Golden hasn't proved yet in his two years with the team he's capable of seeing defensive action consistently, but with a shifting secondary - Clark will be replaced by Mike Mitchell this season, and long-standing veteran Troy Polamalu may not be far behind - the opportunity is there this season for Golden to show he's more than just a special teams player.
Even if he is one of the better special teams players in the game.