The Pittsburgh Steelers have a major set challenges facing them for the offseason of 2019 after they managed to miss the postseason for the first time in five years. The failure has been taken especially grievously because of the fact that the team was in position to control their own fate even for homefield advantage with six games remaining before dropping four games.
And so they find themselves getting the exit meeting process underway at least two weeks earlier than they have had to in years, since they have made it to at least the Divisional Round since 2015. Hopefully they used those extra two weeks with purpose.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2018 season.
Player: Brian Allen
Experience: 2 Years
The Steeler used two draft picks on the cornerback position in 2017, first on Cameron Sutton in the third round and then on Brian Allen in the fifth. In spite of the fact that he’s a true physical specimen at 6’3”, 215 pounds with solid speed, he was available at that spot because—well, because he’s barely been a cornerback.
In fact, up until his penultimate season in college, Allen never played on defense before at any point in his football history. It was all new to him, so it’s fair to say that even as he enters his third season in the NFL, he is still learning about how to play the position.
That doesn’t guarantee that a mere investment of time and effort will pay off, as indicated by the fact that the team didn’t carry him on the initial 53-man roster last year. Allen gave up several big plays in the preseason in 2018 as a byproduct of trying to be overaggressive in making plays—perhaps pushing because he knew he was on the bubble.
He did of course end up back on the 53-man roster later in the year, but as was the case in his rookie season, that was to play on special teams. He is solid as a gunner and a jammer on the punt team units and has been used elsewhere as well.
But because he’s not necessarily a staple on special teams, 2019 will be a critical year for him to prove that he is capable of contributing on the defensive side of the ball. He may even be directly competing with former first-round pick Artie Burns for a roster spot.
It’s easy to be intrigued by physically gifted players who just ‘need to put it all together’, but the truth is that the vast majority of them never do. Tom Bradley, Teryl Austin, Keith Butler, and Mike Tomlin will have their hands full this offseason.