Now that he is finally back on the field, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie fifth-round safety Marcus Allen has the opportunity to put his name into the discussion for a spot on the 53-man roster. the Penn State product has only seen a brief amount of time in two preseason games so far after missing an extended amount of time due to injuries going all the way back to rookie minicamp, but the chance it there to make his move in the preseason finale.
Allen did get the opportunity to leave Heinz Field on Saturday night on a high note. With the Tennessee Titans trailing by 10 very late in the game and facing a fourth and long, their quarterback heaved a desperation Hail Mary pass from deep in his own territory, which the safety played well all the way and leaped to record the interception. He was reported to have walked out of the building nestling the ball in his arms sporting a triumphant grin.
And who can blame him after how much time he has missed? He suffered an injury in rookie minicamp and went on to essentially miss all of OTAs and minicamp. He missed a decent amount of time in training camp as well, and then did not play in the second preseason game. I’m sure he’s just relieved to be back in the race.
And the race is still very much alive, because I don’t believe that there is any clear favorite right now for the 10th defensive back spot. I have already changed my prediction for that spot three or four times. It started with Allen prior to training camp, but has also featured Jordan Dangerfield, Malik Golden, and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh.
If he can play a great game on Thursday and see an extended amount of work, including making a couple of plays on special teams, then he will put himself in very solid position to make the opening-day roster. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac previously said that he believes the team is holding a roster spot for him. That may or may not be true, but the likelihood is that they are looking for a reason to keep him.
Back during the draft, the Steelers talked about the fact that Allen was clearly the highest-rated player on their board when their turn came to pick in the fifth round—recalling that they did not have a fourth-round pick.
They of course already drafted a safety in the first round in Terrell Edmunds, and had added Morgan Burnett and Nat Berhe in free agency while retaining Sean Davis and, at that point, J.J. Wilcox from the previous season. Not to mention Dangerfield and Golden.
Safety was certainly not a need from a numbers standpoint when they selected Allen. That says something about how much they liked him. injuries threatened to ruin any chance he had at making the 53-man roster, but he appears to be back in enough time to make that push to a spot nobody else has yet claimed as their own.