Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: Marcus Allen
Stock Value: Up
Continuing our theme of taking stock of the Steelers’ rookie draft class upon completion of rookie minicamp, fifth-round safety Marcus Allen is yet another from and of whom we heard positive things. While he has a lot of competition in front of him to even get on the field, the first step to doing so is proving yourself.
The Steelers didn’t hesitate to take Allen when he was on the board in the fifth round, their first pick available to them in over 50 slots because they did not have a fourth-round pick, in spite of the fact that they had already addressed the safety position heavily up to that point.
Having already released Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden, Pittsburgh added starter Morgan Burnett in free agency, as well as Nat Berhe. Then they used their first-round pick on Terrell Edmunds. Add in Sean Davis, and you have at least three players that figure to start ahead of Allen.
They did make room for him after the draft, releasing J.J. Wilcox, even if that was a predictable move. But a number of Allen’s teammates spoke positively about his performance during rookie minicamp, and his fellow rookie safety, Edmunds, noted that the two of them were given communications responsibility.
I don’t believe anybody specifically mentioned, as did Edmunds, that he worked at linebacker, though I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that he did get that work in too during rookie minicamp. The coaching staff showed its willingness to flex the rookies out, working Jaylen Samuels in different spots as well.
Still, the dept chart will be the Penn State product’s enemy, immediately starting behind Davis, Burnett, and Edmunds. It’s not an impossible hill to climb, however. Just think of Kelvin Beachum and Mike Adams and how their careers in Pittsburgh turned out.
If Allen can play then there is always a chance that he will get to play. He will have ample opportunity to prove just that. And if he can nudge ahead of Berhe for playing time, with the team utilizing three safeties, he could be much closer to logging defensive snaps than one might think.