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Steelers OTAs: A Golden opportunity for Steelers defensive backs

The absence of the Steelers veteran safeties from the second round of OTAs gives the younger players a chance to get more attention from coaches.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The second day of the second session of Steelers OTAs kicks off Tuesday. The absence of veteran defensive backs Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark isn't exactly surprising, but it does make the OTA session exactly what it should be; a chance for the younger players to get some exposure while working directly with coaches in smaller groups.

One player who can take advantage of that narrow focus is second-year safety Robert Golden. Somewhat forgotten with the selection of Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft, Golden was one of a few undrafted players who saw game time for the Steelers last year. A multi-faceted safety from Arizona, he played all over the defensive secondary in college, and his coverage ability from the safety position is intriguing.

Today's widely varied passing game, combined with the emerging size and athleticism of the tight end position, gave birth to the need for bigger coverage players playing in the deep secondary. Golden, at 5-foot-11, 202 pounds, has good size for his position and showed he has coverage ability.

While only playing sparingly, Golden stuck with the team all season, and with the Steelers age in their starting deep secondary, he has an opportunity to make the team, and possibly see time in bigger personnel sub packages.

The departure of Will Allen and Ryan Mundy in free agency left the door open for Golden, even with the acquisition of Thomas. Add in DaMon Cromartie-Smith, and the Steelers' young safeties can prepare themselves in these OTAs for a battle in training camp.

Having those veterans around can be helpful, which is likely at least part of the reason Polamalu, Taylor and Clark were at the first session, but giving them the chance to get out of their imposing shadows can be helpful for them as well.