You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.
In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.
When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.
Topic: Which rookie is more likely to make the roster between fifth-round cornerback Brian Allen and seventh-round outside linebacker Keion Adams?
Don’t look now, but the Steelers have slowly but surely restocked their roster over the course of the past several seasons, to the point at which we are actually going to start seeing more meaningful honest-to-goodness position battles taking place during training camp and the preseason; battles that might actually mean something.
While the most crowded and contentious spot on the 53-man roster is likely to be the wide receiver position, which features upwards of nine rosterable talents, the focus here is on two positions at which the Steelers both double dipped and added a late-round talent: Brian Allen in the fifth round at cornerback and Keion Adams in the seventh at outside linebacker.
Looking at the numbers, the Steelers already have five outside linebackers they can probably go into the season with sans Adams. The starters and the ageless wonder are locks. The others are less so. Anthony Chickillo is developing into a special-teams ace, but Arthur Moats’ role both there and on defense has diminished, while his salary has not. Adams could take advantage of this by flashing some pass-rush ability while carving out a role on special teams.
The path toward a roster spot for almost any late-round pick is, of course, down to include special teams, so Allen’s will be much the same. His rawness in his craft, however, is going to be difficult to roster. On the other hand, you can’t teach height.
There may be only two or three spots, however, for four cornerbacks, those being Allen, William Gay, free agent signing Coty Sensabaugh, and former second-round draft pick Senquez Golson, who has been injured. Obviously, if Golson can’t perform, then his path is much easier, which may give him the edge over Adams.
Which side do you lean closer toward?