Now that the 2020 training camp 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: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers coaching staff has been acknowledging and talking up third-year safety Marcus Allen this offseason, including noting his being used among the linebackers in recent training camp sessions, now that they are down to just four players at the position (which is honestly absurd).
It seems as though many began to write off the future of Marcus Allen as soon as the Steelers drafted Antoine Brooks in the sixth round. Things really seemed doomed when they signed Curtis Riley once training camp opened.
But with it looking more and more like the team will only keep five cornerbacks, and thus more and more likely that they’ll keep five safeties, it seems as though the momentum is swinging in the favor of the Penn State alumnus, at least within public perception.
After spending his rookie season on the 53-man roster, Allen was bumped to the practice squad last year when they kept only four safeties, with first-year Kameron Kelly, who was better suited to play free safety, made it over him. He finished the year on the 53 after Kelly was arrested and released.
Whenever you go backward, your position on the team is always and necessarily in question. By no means is he walking into a guaranteed job. But he is one of four safeties who knows the system, and that is a big advantage for him in an offseason like this.
The fact that his position coaches have been talking about him in positive ways, indicating that he is making advancements, is another tip of the scale in his favor. And the team’s perception of his versatility in playing a hybrid linebacker role only further adds to his prospects.
When Allen was promoted last year, he told reporters that Mike Tomlin got on him, telling him to keep working and keep getting better, and that he praised the progress he made by the time he got the call to come up. Perhaps he has continued that growth, and is starting to develop into the player they thought he would be when they were so high on him in the fifth round in 2018.