Arguably the biggest disappointment of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2018 NFL Draft class has been fifth-round safety Marcus Allen’s performance—or rather his lack of it. The rookie has spent a lot of the offseason on the sidelines. He missed pretty much all of the spring and has missed time during training camp as well due to injuries.
When the Steelers first drafted him—after already adding a safety in Terrell Edmunds with their first-round pick—it was accepted as a foregone conclusion that they intended to carry five safeties this year, and perhaps from now on.
It helped that when the team spoke of him after selecting him, they did so in glowing terms, saying that they selected him where they did because he was easily the highest-rated player left on the board, enough of a difference between himself and the next player available that they had no concerns double-dipping at the spot.
Yet he has been buried in the depth chart at a spot that would indicate that he is not even going to make the roster. There is Morgan Burnett and Sean Davis working as the starters, as goes without saying, and then Edmunds has affixed himself to the number three role, ordinarily working with Nat Berhe, whom the team signed in free agency along with Bostic.
The third-team safety pairing has had some variability but has often been ‘veteran’ training camp presence Jordan Dangerfield and Malik Golden, making his second summer with the team. That has left very few opportunities for Allen, seemingly making it rather difficult for him to make the roster.
Gerry Dulac didn’t seem to be too concerned about that, however, writing in a recent chat he thinks “they have him slotted for this team” in spite of the fact that he has missed a lot of time, and when he has been on the field, his reps have been scarce and low-quality.
Allen did not play against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, either on defense or on special teams. All of the other safeties did. Is he falling too far behind for the Steelers to just leave a roster spot open for him just because he was a late-round draft pick?
It’s not as though there isn’t a history of defensive backs drafted in the fifth round not making the team when they battled injuries in the offseason. The Steelers suffered that fate in back to back years with Terry Hawthorne and Shaquille Richardson, so Allen ought not be taking anything for granted.
The Steelers actually have a deep group of safeties, with Berhe, Dangerfield, and Golden all being players who at least offer some potential, so they are not hurting for Allen, either. He might need a strong preseason finale in order to secure his spot, or the team might not even carry five safeties if a sixth cornerback proves more worthy.