There are advantages and disadvantages into coming in as the second of two draft picks at the same position, which is a common occurrence in the NFL. There are only so many positions from which to draft, so it’s inevitable every season that a number of teams take more than one player from at least one position in the NFL Draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers double dip at at least one position almost every single year. There was Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, who Timmons ended up inside. Two years later it was Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett. Then Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. Then Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen.
More recently, they’ve had pairings with Bud Dupree and Anthony Chickillo, Senquez Golson and Doran Grant, Ryan Shazier and Jordan Zumwalt, and T.J. Watt and Keion Adams, in addition to Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen.
This year’s double-dip opportunity presented itself at safety when Marcus Allen, a player that the Steelers rated highly, was still on the board for them in the fifth round. They didn’t hesitate in landing the highest player on their board, even though they already added Terrell Edmunds in the first round.
I’m sure some pairings get along better than others. Watt and Adams early on last year talked about working and studying together as they helped each other adjust to the NFL. Edmunds and Allen seem to be a similar pairing, with the latter telling reporters during rookie minicamp that they’ve already built a relationship.
“He’s from VA. He went to V-Tech”, said the Silver Springs native, a city in Maryland near to the border with Virginia, although Virginia Tech is toward the other end of the state. “When we were at the Combine we bonded, so that’s my boy. And we’re roommates right now, so it’s real cool”.
I always like to hear that a pair of rookies are bonding and working together, especially if they come in at the same position. It can only lead to helping make both of them better, especially in their critical first seasons while they are adjusting to the game.
That will hopefully serve Allen, as well as Adams, well this offseason as they push for the 53-man roster. The latter spent his rookie season on injured reserve but is ready to resume his quest to play in the NFL as a 2017 seventh-round draft pick.
As for the former, he figures to be fighting for a potential fifth safety spot, which has not been common in Pittsburgh, though which seems quite likely this year. Especially given how much they seem to like Allen, as well as the evident intention to use three-safety packages on defense this season. Naturally, he will have to earn his keep on special teams in order to gain entry.