NFL Draft

NFL Draft Analyst Believes Cory Trice Jr. Could Be Steelers’ Next Cortez Allen

Not only was Purdue cornerback and current Pittsburgh Steeler Cory Trice Jr. a steal of a pick in the seventh round in the 2023 NFL Draft, for one NFL Draft analyst he compares favorably to a former defensive chess piece in the Black and Gold that had a strong three-year run before falling off.

That player Trice compares favorably to? Former Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen, at least according to CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson.

Appearing on 93.7 The Fan Wednesday on the PM Show with hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller, Wilson spoke highly of Trice and believes that the Steelers landed a big-slot cornerback who can be a defensive chess piece the Steelers have been searching for in recent seasons.

“He’s a big, thick corner. Then he ran a sub 4.5 [40], but his 3-cone and short shuttle were off the charts for a player his size. He’s a little stiffer than what he tested, but worst case you can play him all over the field as a chess piece, sort of what they wanted to do with Devin Bush,” Wilson stated to Filliponi and Mueller Wednesday, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “He’s not a linebacker, obviously, but he’s a safety/corner hybrid, and I think that versatility makes him an interesting prospect. …I want to see how this works out.

“I think that makes sense [to be a big slot corner]. Cortez Allen was that guy. Before he hit the skids, he had a good two- or three-year run there where they used him a lot against those bigger tight ends and it was effective. …It gives you that versatility.”

Cortez Allen certainly isn’t a name we’ve heard in awhile, but the way Wilson described Trice, the 241st overall pick in the draft, seemingly fits with what the Steelers once did with Allen. He was tasked with handling some of the coverage aspects of the bigger tight end matchups against the likes of New England’s Rob Gronkowski, Chicago’s Martellus Bennett, Miami’s Charles Clay and even Cincinnati’s pairing of Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert.

Allen had a strong three-year run in Pittsburgh from 2012-14, starting 18 games during that span while playing in 40 games, seeing action on nearly 60% of the defensive snaps. Allen recorded two interceptions in each of those three seasons and really became that defensive chess piece for Pittsburgh.

Allen couldn’t stay healthy and was placed on IR for the second straight season in October of the 2015 season. He was ultimately released in April 2016, ending his tenure with the Steelers and his NFL career.

Trice could certainly profile as that same type of player for the Steelers with similar size that Allen brought. Allen was a 6’1″, 196-pound cornerback with some previous experience at safety in college at The Citadel, while Trice checks in at 6’3″, 206 pounds. Some medical concerns caused Trice to drop to the seventh round, but there’s certainly a potential role for him with the Steelers, whether that’s a boundary cornerback opposite Joey Porter Jr. moving forward, or as that hybrid safety/cornerback role like Allen once played.

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