We heard a lot from Pittsburgh Steelers fifth-round rookie safety Marcus Allen during rookie minicamp. We heard a lot from him at the very beginning of OTAs. Then we didn’t hear from him so much since then. As it turns out, as Kevin Gorman noted in an article about the Penn Stater yesterday, he had missed much of OTAs while nursing a hamstring injury.
Allen was the second of two safeties the Steelers drafted back in April during the 2018 NFL Draft. They used their first-round draft pick on Terrell Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. Edmunds has been running with the second-team defense so far, and we can probably infer that he has been working with Nat Berhe primarily.
Allen, in the meantime, will have to play catchup, though there is plenty of time for that. the Steelers do have some other safeties on the roster that they like, returning in some capacity from last season, in Jordan Dangerfield and Malik Golden, so even if they keep five safeties, his roster spot is still not a lock.
Dangerfield has been with the team for many years now. He has been a part of the organization since 2014 after originally going undrafted in 2013. He spent the 2016 season on the 53-man roster and even started two games, but he spent the season on the practice squad a year ago, where he remained for the full season.
As for Golden, Allen’s former teammate at Penn State, he was originally brought in by the Steelers early in training camp a year ago after previously signing with the San Francisco 49ers following the 2017 NFL Draft. He impressed and even made an interceptions during the preseason, but it was on the interception return that he injured himself.
He ended up being placed on injured reserve and later reached an injury settlement, but they re-signed him to a Reserve/Future contract after their season ended, so they so have three safeties heading into minicamp this week that have had prior experience running the defense.
Allen is the furthest behind of the entire position group, even behind his fellow rookie Edmunds, whose exceptional conditioning has helped him maximize every opportunity for a rep he has been given, and to keep away from those nagging injuries.
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler actually talked about the issue with such soft-tissue injuries being an issue for rookies coming in after training their bodies in a certain way in order to prepare for the NFL Draft, because that sort of training is for testing, and not for playing football.
Now, as I said earlier, make no mistake that Allen is going to have plenty of opportunity to catch up. Training camp is where the bulk of the work is done and where most players really begin to separate themselves.
Make some plays in the preseason, including tackles on special teams, and that is how the make the team as a guy on the bottom of a roster.