Carnell Lake RE Senquez Golson RELATED
Coach Lake:We are pleased to be able to grab Senquez Golson in the second round from Mississippi. He is a ball-hawking type of corner. He has very good quickness, very good anticipation and awareness, and we are looking forward to having him in the building.
Re: Golson not being a Steelers type of corner:
I really believe at this point in the draft, we are looking for someone with exceptional skills. Senquez has exceptional ball skills. Every year at Mississippi, he had an interception. His last year, he had 10, which is, if I remember correctly, it was the top-two or three in college football. He's just a well-rounded athlete. He turned down a lucrative contract to play baseball. He did an outstanding job tracking the football. Anytime you can get a guy like that who can pluck the ball out of the air, he has real value in the league. The league is a pass oriented league, it's been transitioning for a while. It requires multiple formations, multiple personnel in the secondary on the field, a lot more personnel on the field than usual. A lot of times five defensive backs but sometimes six, and the more defensive backs you have on the field that can defend the pass, especially take the ball away, it's really going to help us a lot.
Are taller wide receivers going to be a concern?
He's going to be challenged, there's no question about that, just like they challenge all of our defensive backs. If you are 6-2 they are still going to throw at you or if you are 5-8 they are still going to throw at you. Senquez is going to have to come in and he's going to have to prove that he can play in this league. We believe he can.
View photos of Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 2nd Round Draft Pick, defensive back Senquez Golson.
What do you like about him?**
Talking to him when we had him in for a visit, Senquez is very intelligent, very football aware, very knowledgeable of the game. I was asking him questions about the defenses he played at Mississippi and some of the problems and issues that he had or situations that the defense had at Mississippi. I wouldn't even finish the question and he was answering it. He's very sharp. I really liked that about him. He won't have a problem learning the system. He's very aware. I could put him in multiple situations because of that. I think he will adapt very quickly to different schemes and positions that we may put him in. Whether it's the nickel or playing corner outside.
He seems to have an infectious personality, or did I just catch him on a good day?
No, he's very likeable. I think once you get him in the building, you will really come to like him quickly. He's very personable, very approachable, speaks well, is a very thoughtful young man, and I think that he'll get along really well with his teammates here.
How willing is he to come up against the run?
He is tough. Again, he's not one of the bigger corners, but what I really measure defensive backs on is how tough they are. They have to check that box for me, and I think that he will do that.
You said leading up to the draft that some scouts and NFL coaches said that if he were taller that he would've been a first round pick. Would you have told that to him?**
I probably would've. I think that's true. If he had been two inches taller, we probably would not have gotten him. He probably would have gone high in the first round. He has unusual ball skills and unusual production, especially when it comes to interceptions. And if you look at the corners that have been selected before him, they can't match his level of productivity in terms of interceptions, especially when you look at last year. If he were taller, people would have jumped on him right away.
How important was it to get a ball-hawk to create more turnover for the offense?
I think that if we start getting pressure on the quarterback in significant ways, the interceptions will come. And if a guy has hands like Senquez, and he can anticipate and get a jump on a quarterback, pressure and coverage go hand in hand. And with us yesterday in the first round getting a linebacker and now we got the ball-hawk corner, I think that it's going to work out pretty well.
When you say ball hawk, does that translate automatically from college to the pro game?
No, not at all. You guys know that as well as I do. He is going to have to come into the league and prove it. There is a lot of great talent around in the league and there is talent in our division and they are going to match him up on just about everybody that we play. Whether it is Cincinnati, with Green, or if we go to Baltimore and the number one pick that the Baltimore Ravens took yesterday at 6-2 and runs a 4.2, all of our defensive backs and secondary are going to be challenged by that. It never ends. The competition is really severe and stiff in the NFL and he will have to come in and adjust very quickly.
Was his interception against Alabama a highlight for you watching his tapes?
I don't look at just one play or one game. I like to try to look at multiple games and get a feel for the things that he can do and he can't do. For me personally, I want a guy that's got some speed. It's hard to cover if you don't have speed. I always put it in very visual terms. You have to have brakes. It's like a sports car. You can't just have speed. You have to be able to stop and start and get in and out with brakes. You have to have quickness. Senquez has that. You have to be able to tackle. Of the top five tacklers on the team last year, four of them I believe were defensive backs, so you have to be able to tackle. You have to be able to check those boxes off. If you can't check those boxes off, you're going to have a tough time getting on the field and being productive in the National Football League.
Re: What goes into a corner's skill set:**
It's like speed. It's part of you. You can work on it, but it's more than that at this level. You have to want to tackle. If there's a way to measure someone's heart, that's the way you measure it. How eager are they going to be to take on the run game as a corner? We play a lot of teams that have big backs that are really fast, that are angry and mean when they run. You have to get up there. You have to be willing to be aggressive and make your play. How you make your tackle or when you make your tackle, all that matters. The more aggressive corner you have that will be willing to make those tackles not only against the run but also in the open field. A lot of situations, a corner has to be agile enough to make a tackle in the open field, which is very difficult. At this level, these guys are expected to do that.
Re: Resolving issues with disorderly conduct charge:
That's a process that's vetted out in the draft room. We take that very seriously. There are a lot of things that come with players from around the United States that have gotten themselves in some sticky situations. You have to measure that and see if they have overcome that and learned from that. Is it a chronic issue or is it a one-time issue? Those things Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin do. That's not necessarily something that I do. They inform me of those things, but those things are worked out in the back.
Was this a need in your eyes?
Secondary, with the losses we've had with Troy retiring, a great player like Troy not being in the lineup. A great player like Ike Taylor who's played a long time, double digits, who's had a great experience retiring. We lost McCain, Brice McCain, who came in and did an outstanding job for us last year. When you have three key players leave, you need to replace those people. So in that sense it was a need.