Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, 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 season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
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: Down
The Steelers made it clear that when they drafted Marcus Allen in 2018, it was because they were really high on him and they couldn’t pass up the value he offered in the fifth round. This was in spite of the fact that they had already signed two safeties in free agency and drafted one earlier in the first round, while also retaining a starter and a special teams ace from the previous season’s roster.
So in spite of the fact that he battled injuries throughout the offseason process, it wasn’t a complete shock that they still managed to find a spot for him as the sixth safety on the team, behind Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Morgan Burnett, Nat Berhe and Jordan Dangerfield.
All of those players are gone since then, short of Edmunds and Dangerfield. Those two plus Davis made up three of the four safeties who made the team in 2019, however; Allen was not among them. It’s not because they drafted another or signed another in free agency. AAF refugee Kameron Kelly beat him out for a roster spot.
I look now at the Steelers’ 90-man roster and I see Tray Matthews, returning from the practice squad. I see John Battle, who was signed as a futures player. Now they’ve added Tyree Kinnel from the XFL out of Michigan. Arrion Springs is also a versatile defensive back the way Kelly was.
It all leads me to wonder if the same thing that happened to Allen last year will happen again this year; that some fringe, ‘camp body’-type player is going to beat him out for a roster spot. Right now, he is on a similar career trajectory as another fifth-round Allen: Brian Allen.
Aside from the possibility of one of these darkhorses claiming a roster spot, there is the very real probability that the Steelers are interested in drafting another safety high, perhaps as early as their second-round pick. He could always end up back on the practice squad, but it’s rare for players to be demoted and find their way back up the ladder.