With the 2016 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certainly players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, has sent their stock rising or falling.
Player: S Will Allen
Stock Value: Down
He’s not on the roster, so it’s a bit unusual to be writing about safety Will Allen right now in the context of his stock value with the Steelers, but considering he was a 13-game starter last season—and the only games he did not start were the ones that he missed due to an ankle injury—and has already expressed a desire to play another season, his stock remains relevant, for now.
Another factor that keeps him relevant is the fact that he has long been a favorite of the Steelers’ coaching staff, and even worked under head coach Mike Tomlin when the latter was the defensive backs coach for the Buccaneers early in Allen’s career. His prior relationship with Tomlin was one of the factors that helped initially bring him to Pittsburgh, where he has spent about half of his long career.
But this has not exactly been the best offseason for Allen in terms of his value for the Steelers. While the man that allowed him to start—Shamarko Thomas—remains, the team has been busy addressing the safety position all the while.
They started out by re-signing Robert Golden to a modest three-year contract. Golden was the one who stepped up to start in Allen’s place when he was out with an injury. In all, including the postseason, he logged 425 defensive snaps, which of course blew away the total number of defensive snaps he had in his career prior to the 2015 season.
More significant was the drafting of Sean Davis in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, a 6’1”, 200-pound, hard-hitting yet very athletic safety. Between Golden and Davis, the Steelers are at least three-deep at the position behind fixture Mike Mitchell.
All three will figure to see playing time in some capacity this season regardless of who starts, and Thomas is already a fourth safety. The Steelers were comfortable carrying four safeties for the majority of last season, but Ross Ventrone has spent time on and off the roster the last two years for special teams purposes.
That said, it still cannot be ruled out that Allen could be brought back for one more season. He knows the defense as well as anybody and doesn’t need the offseason workouts to be able to play. He will be on speed dial, even into the season, ready to play at a moment’s notice.