In the wake of losing Keenan Lewis to free agency to New Orleans, odds seem to be that Cortez Allen is primed to take the starting left cornerback position.
“Everyone should have that aspiration to one day be a starter. That is my goal. That is what I work for, to compete with the best.”
And, that is exactly what Allen may earn the chance to do opposite side of Ike Taylor. Allen started 4 games in the 2012-13 season in place of Ike while he was injured. He quickly made an impression with 2 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles.
Allen’s emergence made the decision for the Steelers (as well as being cap strapped) to allow Lewis, the seeming star in the making to walk. However, thus far freshly completed with OTA’s Allen has been considered by SI.com as one of the emerging stars in his own right for the Steelers.
Allen has always been considered a “sleeper” since the days of his NFL combine. Mel Kiper himself regarded Allen as “a big corner who runs well tests well, and has solid strength.” Allen has proven to live up to the hype with a 2012-13 campaign of 55 tackles, 10 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles. All the while not being a starter, however playing in 15 regular season games with the Steelers.
Allen’s physical attributes allow him to be a bit more versatile in covering WR’s as well as TE’s. His 6’1 near-200 pound frame is an asset to Pittsburgh as in a league where most corners barely tip 5’9. Allen is battle tested and successful in this regard as quarterbacks have a 68.5 passer rating against him, 14th best in the league.
With a healthy Taylor, Clark, and Polamalu, Allen may be able to not be placed in unfavorable 1 on 1 situations. It will also gain Allen more seasoned experience & allow the Steelers to maintain their excellence among top passing defenses.