The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Marcus Allen will be the fourth safety.
Explanation: Through three preseason games, it has become apparent that Kameron Kelly has placed himself in the position to be the number three safety on the roster. The team is likely to keep four based on how the rest of the 53-man roster is shaping up, and that figures to be determined between second-year Marcus Allen, a fifth-round pick in 2018, and Jordan Dangerfield, a third-year veteran who has been with the team since the 80s.
One thing that must be said is that Allen has been more present overall, defensively. He actually has two forced fumbles, one that occurred in the second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs and was recovered by the defense. He had a forced fumble last night that ended up going uncredited and unchallenged, the decision being made that because there was no clear recovery, it didn’t justify challenging the on-field ruling of no fumble.
What’s more, while it didn’t get a lot of work on special teams—I did at least notice him on the punt return team in the second half—he had two special teams tackles in the second preseason game, and he always has the opportunity to make his mark in the finale. He will probably work extensively on special teams at that time. That’s how he solidified his roster spot last year.
Jordan Dangerfield has been around long enough where you just kind of know that he’s going to survive as long as he’s healthy. He has still played ahead of Allen and is still on the first-team special teams units, and you know when you’re talking about the ninth or 10th defensive back, that’s a vital role.
The truth is that Allen was already expendable last year, only dressing for two games, and Kelly has already bypassed him for any possible defensive playing time. The Steelers were high on him last year, but that doesn’t guarantee you two years in this league as a late-round pick.