Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: CB Brian Allen
Stock Value: Down
We haven’t seen this first-hand, so of course I’m basing this on what I gather from those who have seen the team work in spring drills. And at least one beat writer—specifically Jacob Klinger of PennLive—offered a negative assessment of third-year cornerback Brian Allen. “For a player with the lottery of mid-round project skills, the third-year corner surprises in his inability to stand out in freeze tag practices”, he wrote.
Allen was a fifth-round pick in 2017, the Steelers believing that his excellent athletic traits could be utilized with proper coaching. A 6’3”, 213-pound former wide receiver, he has the size to be physical with anybody but also possesses sufficient speed to stay with the faster coverage assignments.
Now in his third offseason, however, it doesn’t sound as though he is making great strides in putting it all together. Obviously what he does in training camp and the postseason will hold far more weight than anything that has happened over the course of the past month, but cornerback is a position where players can certainly stand out in that environment.
And often in such scenarios, players with physical gifts can rise above their limited fundamentals to excel on the practice field. Just look at Justin Hunter, who would have great performances in training camp and then do little in-game.
A 6’3” cornerback with speed should be able to make a couple of headlines at this time of year, especially with two entire seasons of experience already under his belt. The fact that he pretty much hasn’t even been acknowledged—we don’t even know where he was running—is not very encouraging.
Allen figures to be battling for a theoretical sixth spot at cornerback, behind Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Justin Layne, Mike Hilton, and presumably Cameron Sutton, with Artie Burns and others also in the mix. The Steelers already released him at the start of last season, carrying him on the practice squad, until an injury saw him called up after a few weeks.