Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for 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 move forward.
Player: S Marcus Allen
Stock Value: Up
One man’s adversity is another man’s opportunity, and yesterday, Marcus Allen was given an opportunity courtesy of the arrest of first-year Steelers reserve safety, Kameron Kelly. An undrafted free agent a year ago, Kelly made a name for himself in the AAF earlier this year before signing with the Steelers.
He earned his way onto the 53-man roster, beating out the second-year Allen for one of just four spots at safety, having received high-quality practice reps since OTAs. The frequent injuries of Sean Davis allowed him to work with the first-team defense, and he ultimately started the season opener.
After Davis injured his shoulder and was put on the Reserve/Injured List, the Steelers went out and acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick to start, but Kelly continued to play as a dime defender. He has since largely given way to Cameron Sutton in that role, but still contributes, including on special teams.
That’s where Allen will fit in. a fifth-round pick out of Penn State last season, he was on the 53-man roster all year in 2018, but was forced to the practice squad this year. He should dress tomorrow and play on special teams, where he has had some success in the past, notably in the preseason.
Could he even see playing time? I don’t think there is any reason to worry about his knowledge of the defense, since he has been consistently employed by the Steelers since they drafted him in April of 2018. Last season, when they needed a dime defender, he played against the Los Angeles Chargers over Jordan Dangerfield, who is still on the roster.
It is unclear if this is much of a long-term opportunity for Allen, however, and could depend upon the nature of Kelly’s arrest. They could choose to re-sign him later on down the road if he is cleared, but they needed a roster spot for this game, so releasing him was really the only option for now in order to promote Allen.