The Pittsburgh Steelers brought the boom with the selection of Penn State safety Marcus Allen in the fifth round. The former Penn State safety is a tough, hard hitting player and will bring a type of physicality that many thought the Steelers lacked in the secondary last season. Just how bad did the Steelers lack consistent tackling in the last two thirds of the field last season? Our very own Josh Carney provided an answer in his final missed tackles report and its not pretty.
Ryan Shazier (26) and Sean Davis (24) led the team in missed tackles with 50 combined. Add in another eight tackles missed by former safety Mike Mitchell, and the three combined for 30.5 percent of the team’s total missed tackles. It was obvious heading into the offseason that the sloppy tackling had to change and the winds of change already began to blow Thursday night with the first-round selection of Terrell Edmunds. And with Allen, the Steelers are bringing in one of the best tacklers in Penn State’s history.
Allen finished with 321 career tackles as a Nittany Lion, the fifth most tackles in Penn State’s history. He is only the sixth player in Penn State’s history to record over 300 tackles, but there is a catch about Allen’s feat. Many of the other players featured on Penn States all time rankings in tackles made are linebackers while Allen carved his place in history from the safety position. At 215 lbs, Allen is a true in the box safety who brought the boom like you would expect from a linebacker. His ability to use his force to stop a moving object allowed him to be one of Penn State’s most feared tacklers over the last four seasons.
“To me, he’s a big-time tackler,” Steelers new defensive backs coach Tom Bradley told reporters after Allen was selected. “He will strike you. That’s one of the things, a very physical tackler. A very physical person around the ball. I think that’s probably the best part of his game. When you watch him strike people, he gets after it pretty good.”
Allen has had nine career games where he has recorded double digit tackles. Mitchell and Davis have had only two such games during their tenure with the Steelers. While these two may have the edge over the new Steelers safety in coverage, Allen is being brought in to help relieve the tackling miscues in the box should he see the field.
For much of last season, arms flew in agony as tackle after tackle were recorded as whiffs. Now, Allen is being brought in to help fix the issue and while he may not be the only answer, he might be a significant part of it.