It is probably pretty frustrating to be the second draft pick at the same position from the same draft class by the same team. More often than not, the higher draft pick is going to get way more attention, both by the media and perhaps by the coaches as well.
It’s pretty unavoidable and happens somewhere every year. This year, Penn State safety Marcus Allen is the other safety to first-round draft pick Terrell Edmunds. But the local connection is a bit of a benefit for the rookie fifth-round draft pick. As is his personality, which has helped him quickly adjust.
“To be honest I felt comfortable out here”, Allen said during this past weekend’s work at rookie minicamp. “I have a great relationship with a couple of the guys. I’m building relationships. It feels like home already”.
Perhaps one of the reasons that it feels something like home is because his new position coach is a Penn State alumnus like himself. Tom Bradley, who was just hired this season to take over the defensive backs coach role from Carnell Lake, spent most of his career coaching in a variety of roles for the Nittany Lions.
“It feels great. It feels good”, the rookie defensive back said about the rookie coach. “He’s a Penn State guy”. But more than that, Allen is even more impressed with what he has heard from Bradley on the field than what he has heard about his past.
“The way he teaches and explains things is incredible. I’m blessed to have him as a coach”, he declared, which is similar to what we heard over the weekend from Edmunds as well. Both of the Steelers’ defensive back draft picks have had strong first impressions about their new coach.
Bradley had never before coached at the professional level before accepting the Steelers’ offer. He has spent decades at the college ranks, most of it at Penn State, his time coming to an abrupt end for reasons I hope I don’t need to explain for the locals.
“That’s another great reason why it’s good for to learn underneath him”, Allen said about the advantages of himself and Bradley both coming into the NFL together. “He’s new to it, and he’s going to explain it the best way possible because of how he learned it, so it’s great”.
Steelers fans I expect are as eager this offseason to hear reports on the team’s new coaches as they are on the new players, and that is likely especially true for Bradley, as he is replacing a coach who received a lot of fan criticism.
It is worth noting that the veteran defensive backs on the roster haven’t been on the field yet with Bradley, though that will come soon once OTAs begin. Then we will get an even clearer picture of what the players think of him.