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hawaiiansteel
05-01-2011, 01:45 AM
Saturday, April 30, 2011

Steelers Draft Cornerbacks Ė Post Draft Look At Cornerback Situation


We wanted cornerbacks, we got cornerbacks as the Steelers drafted Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen in the 2011 NFL Draft. Now that the draft is complete, it is time to take an early look at the cornerback situation as it stands today. The Steelers kept 6 corners on the active roster in 2010 and may be forced to keep as many as 7 this year depending on how free agency pans out and how fast the rookies develop.

Here is the Steelers cornerback situation as we know it today under new defensive backs coach Carnell Lake.

RCB Ike Taylor - Taylor, as many know, is an unrestricted free agent and there has been some recent talk about how other teams might have interest in signing him whenever free agency opens. Post Gazette beat writer Ed Bouchette blogged this evening that he heard this weekend that the Steelers are convinced they will re-sign Taylor by the time the smoke clears. That is indeed good news if it happens because despite the Steelers drafting Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen this weekend, it will take them time at least a season to get their feet planted firmly in the ground. The longer the lockout last, the slower their development will be in addition as rookies need the OTA sessions so their heads are only slightly spinning by the time training camp opens. The Steelers need Taylor and he also wants to end his career in Pittsburgh. Keep your fingers crossed he is indeed re-signed.

LCB Bryant McFadden - McFadden is still under contract for two more years and almost certainly will be an opening day starter at left cornerback. McFadden was dinged up quite a bit in 2010 and did not have his best season as quarterbacks were not afraid to throw his direction, especially underneath in zone coverages. McFadden is still a pretty reliable tackler though and good about not allowing too many yards after the catch. Depending on the progress of the young cornerbacks on the team, this could likely be his last season with the Steelers depending on his play.

NCB William Gay - Gay too is a free agent this offseason, but his status of whether he is restricted or unrestricted will be decided when and if a new CBA is reached. The Steelers tendered him a one year deal as if he will be deemed restricted, so there is still a chance that he will be back. That is not necessarily a bad thing despite his up and down history. Gay is experienced in the nickel and can play the outside spot in a pinch. The Steelers need experience on the field while they slowly ease in the young corners. If he stays, Gay will see some camp competition from second year corner Crezdon Butler and rookie 3rd round draft pick Curtis Brown depending on how fast he develops. At worst, Gay becomes the 6th defensive back on the field when teams try to use four receiver sets against the Steelers to spread them out. If he is deemed unrestricted, the Steelers will not fight hard for his services unless Taylor does not re-sign.

LCB Keenan Lewis - If Lewis watched the draft this weekend, he has to be worried. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has yet to show any signs of progress in his limited time on the field. He is an outside corner that might be better looked at as a back up free safety if he does not turn the proverbial corner this summer. With the addition of Brown and Allen this weekend, he clearly could be in for a dog fight for a roster spot. It will be interesting if he gets any time at free safety instead as I do not think he is fit to play outside cornerback in the NFL. If he makes the roster, he might be looking at an early season dime role or the left side backup to McFadden. If the Steelers end up losing both Taylor and Gay, he could be forced into an outside starting spot until Brown or Allen are up to speed. Let's hope it does not come to that though.

CB Crezdon Butler - Butler did not get any regular season defensive snaps his rookie season and now will be pushed by Brown and Allen. He will likely get multiple looks inside and outside during camp and hopefully makes an impact. He is such a wild card right now, because the only time we have seen him play defense was during the preseason. He could be ready to take the nickel job away from Gay as well. We will know quite a bit more on the role the Steelers have for him when and if OTA sessions get rolling.

NCB Curtis Brown - Brown has the best chance at seeing the field as a nickel corner depending on how fast he progresses. If rookie OTA sessions continue to be delayed because of the lockout, it will slow his development right off the bat. The D!ck LeBeau system is not an easy one to learn and he needs the early summer sessions dearly. He can play both inside and outside, but like most Steelers rookie corners, he will need to show he can play in the slot first. As a 3rd round pick he is a near lock to make the roster and will be expected to earn his stripes on special teams. He quickly fills the spot that Madison is vacating.

CB Cortez Allen - Allen is raw because of lack of time he has had to hone his craft due to his duties at the Citadel. That is not necessarily a bad thing as there will be less bad habits he likely will have to break. Like fellow rookie Brown though, he needs the OTA sessions to get acclimated as fast as possible. He projects as an outside corner with the Steelers and is a candidate to be an early season inactive player on the 53 man roster.

DB Anthony Madison - Madison too is an unrestricted free agent and the drafting of Brown and Allen signals that there is no chance that he will be re-signed. Madison played just under 150 snaps on defense in 2010 mostly in a reserve nickel role an occasional dime situations. While Madison is highly regarded for his special teams play, it will not be enough to get him back to Latrobe.

DB Tuff Harris - Harris was signed back to the offseason roster after the season ended and is just a camp body and will not make it out of training camp. Harris is more of a dime, safety type instead of a cornerback.

CB Donovan Warren - Warren was signed to the offseason roster after spending some time with the Jets last training camp. He went undrafted in 2010 and is more of a candidate to get a look at free safety instead of cornerback because of his speed. It is his best and only shot at making the Steelers roster. He is not a NFL cornerback.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/04/st ... situation/ (http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/04/steelers-draft-cornerbacks-post-draft-look-at-cornerback-situation/)

insanesteelersfan
05-01-2011, 01:55 AM
I think Madison won't asked to be back. And I feel K.Lewis, although he didn't yet make it as a CB, I think he could be a FS for us, thereby saving a roster spot as it goes to a CB spot cause Lewis could replace Wil Allen ? If so, I think we can keep the rest on the roster. The final two, Warren and Harris I doubt will make it. So, replace K.Lewis for Wil Allen, release Madison, and there are the two spots for Brown and Cortez. :D

Chadman
05-01-2011, 02:50 AM
Mundy is a FA...pehaps...also..

What is interesting is that this is such a YOUNG group of players- it's almost too hard to just 'give up' on any 1 individual.

Lewis might need to look at FS as his route to a roster spot- same with Warren, while Gay is no certainty to return, opening up the nickle spot for either Brown or Butler.

Not expecting much from Allen- would be surprised if he sees the field at all to be honest.

Steele usually look at 8-9 DB's on the roster, so subract Polamalu & Clark- the only real certainties at this point- and you have 7 spots to fill with the rest of these guys.

Not including FA's of course...

Training Camp could be interesting..

papillon
05-01-2011, 06:13 AM
I'm curious about Lewis and why the author, Chadman and insanity think he may get a look at FS? Is he a ball hawk? Does he have the instincts? Has he ever played FS? Can he catch the ball? We haven't seen enough of him to say he can play FS; it reminds me of many folks believing that Colon can transition to guard.

I'm just curious what you all have seen that makes you believe he can transition to FS and contribute any better than Mundy.

Pappy

Chadman
05-01-2011, 09:35 AM
Pap- not saying he will be a good FS. So far, he seems to have struggled settling in at CB, and with the addition of 2 more talented players at CB, the heat will be on Lewis. The competition at the back-up Safety spots is a little weaker, with Mundy probably being next in line. Given that Brown & Allen will likely make the roster- there's only so many spots available.

That FS spot might just be his niche, if he can't make the transition from college to NFL CB. He has the size to at least be a chance of succeeding there.

That said- watch him come out & blow the joint away this training camp & he becomes the starting CB..

Lebsteel
05-01-2011, 01:09 PM
I think our 2011 DBs wll be:
CB: Taylor, McFadden, Brown, Butler, Allen, Gay
Safety: Troy, Clark, Allen, Lewis

hawaiiansteel
05-08-2011, 03:05 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agency: Is Keenan Lewis the Answer at Corner?

By Joseph Bruno (Steelers Featured Columnist) on May 5, 2011

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/001/208/801/103712932_crop_650x440.jpg?1304577652


Since the Pittsburgh Steelers just selected two cornerbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft, some think the team will not bring back Ike Taylor.

Personally, I am still hopeful the Steelers can re-sign Ike, who I'm hoping doesn't request a contract the team cannot afford.

Ike Taylor has been the Steelers' best corner since he became a full time starter, even if he has never caught more than three interceptions in a single season.

He has blazing speed, and is one of the best cover corners in the NFL. If only he had a pair of hands, he would be in the Pro Bowl every year and considered up there with the best in the league.

As it stands, Ike Taylor is a free agent and the Steelers have not been able to negotiate with him at all due to the NFL's current labor situation.

This, along with the Steelers' draft, has led people to believe that it is more likely for Ike not to return to the team in 2011.

Most think if that would happen and they actually lose Ike Taylor, the team would go out and get a starter in free agency such as Carlos Rogers or Johnathan Joseph.

Rather than overreact to losing Taylor and giving a big contract to someone who is just as good or not as good as Ike, I think the Steelers would actually surprise some people and stay in house.

Iím not saying they would not sign any free agent corner at all, however, if they lost Ike Taylor I really think they would consider having Keenan Lewis start in 2011 opposite Bryant McFadden.

Unfortunately that would probably mean they would re-sign William Gay just to have another guy who was familiar with the system on the team, though I think the Steelers have learned their lesson about having Gay be the starting corner.

Having Keenan Lewis start may sound like a stupid idea to some Steelers fans, however, just think, this is actually what the team does with its corners.

The team was comfortable enough with William Gay to let Bryant McFadden leave in free agency in 2009 in only his third season, and Ike Taylor, he became a full time starter in his third season.

Now Lewis is entering his third season, and after not contributing much in his first two years and seemingly always being in Mike Tomlinís doghouse, this should be the year he gets his shot to finally show if he has developed at all.

Even if the team re-signs Ike Taylor, I think Keenan Lewis will be given a legitimate shot to unseat Bryant McFadden as starter. I have faith that he could at least be a factor in the third corner spot on the team if anything.

If Keenan Lewis cannot show he has at least taken a step in the right direction in 2011 and is beatten out by Curtis Brown, Crezdon Butler or even William Gay, I think he will either be tried out at safety, or this could be his last season with the Steelers.

I want Ike Taylor back, however I think Lewis can step up. I am rooting for him to step up this season and show us all he is still the future at corner for the Steelers.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/6914 ... -at-corner (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/691441-pittsburgh-steelers-free-agency-could-keenan-lewis-be-the-answer-at-corner)

flippy
05-08-2011, 05:25 PM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if Dick Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

SteelCrazy
05-08-2011, 06:26 PM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if bad word Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

Whenever you alter the Defense to help out a weaker unit of men you are creating havoc. We need to keep on track and fill the CB spot with the best bodies we can and not change a thing.

RuthlessBurgher
05-09-2011, 10:23 AM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if bad word Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

In cover 2, Polamalu is no longer a guy that other teams have to account for on every play. He's just another guy.

Oviedo
05-09-2011, 10:50 AM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if bad word Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

Are you really suggesting that we make adjustments and not just "trust the legendary system?" Pretty radical thought. :stirpot

Sometimes it is hard to call your baby ugly, but either something has to change or we can just take comfort in that we are good defending against the run. Too bad the rest of the league is not that interested in running the football.

RuthlessBurgher
05-09-2011, 12:26 PM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if bad word Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

Are you really suggesting that we make adjustments and not just "trust the legendary system?" Pretty radical thought. :stirpot

Sometimes it is hard to call your baby ugly, but either something has to change or we can just take comfort in that we are good defending against the run. Too bad the rest of the league is not that interested in running the football.

It's much better to switch back and forth between the 4-3 and the 3-4 every other year like the legendary defenses in Cleveland and Denver do. :roll:

With the stability of a system in place, coaches, scouts, and front office execs know what type of prospects we are looking for in the draft and free agency. That is why we are able to select players with the future 2-3 years down the road in mind, not looking to plug in untested rookies into the starting lineup for a quick fix.

In Cleveland, they expect Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard to come in and start right away, even though they have had no minicamps, OTA's, playbooks to study, or exposure to NFL coaching at this point.

In Cincinnati, they expect A.J. Green and Andy Dalton to come in and start right away, even though they have had no minicamps, OTA's, playbooks to study, or exposure to NFL coaching at this point.

In Baltimore, they expect Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith to come in and start right away, even though they have had no minicamps, OTA's, playbooks to study, or exposure to NFL coaching at this point.

In Pittsburgh, Cameron Heyward, Marcus Gilbert, Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen, Chris Carter, Keith Williams, and Baron Batch will be taught the system and will slowly be integrated into the Steeler way. Only a handful will be active on gameday, and even then for only special teams duty and only the occassional play here and there on offense or defense to keep our starters fresh.

You seem to think that not starting our rookies right off the bat is a failure on the part of our coaches. I think that needing rookies to start is a failure by your front office by leaving gaping holes that require immediate patching (and drafting to fill today's needs instead of drafting the best available guy that you think will have the most productive NFL career overall).

Shawn
05-09-2011, 02:56 PM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if bad word Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

In cover 2, Polamalu is no longer a guy that other teams have to account for on every play. He's just another guy.

Correct, any sort of cover 2 either zone or man will force Troy to play in coverage. It will certainly help the young DBs...and we would likely see more of it. But, our ability to rush the passer would be greatly decreased.

steelblood
05-09-2011, 03:52 PM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if bad word Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

In cover 2, Polamalu is no longer a guy that other teams have to account for on every play. He's just another guy.

Correct, any sort of cover 2 either zone or man will force Troy to play in coverage. It will certainly help the young DBs...and we would likely see more of it. But, our ability to rush the passer would be greatly decreased.

We may have little choice.

I do think Troy is a much better coverage safety since Tomlin arrived.

Oviedo
05-09-2011, 04:04 PM
If Ike leaves, how bout we modify the defense a bit to help the young corners and go with more cover 2. Brown can cover man to man. BMac and Lewis have decent size. So does Allen. I wouldn't mind letting our CBs challenge WRs at the LOS. Not worry about zones and just cover somebody with help over the top.

Heck, even if Ike comes back, we've got some big corners that could disrupt a lot of WRs routes and give our front 7 an extra second or 2 to get to the QB.

Could you imagine if bad word Lebeau allowed the DBs to be as aggressive as he is with the front 7? Maybe if we kept it simpler, we'd get the youngsters in the game sooner than later. And we could turn this whole thing into an offensive defensive strategy.

If you don't have the perfect players for your system, why not adapt the system to get the most out of the young guys on the roster?

Are you really suggesting that we make adjustments and not just "trust the legendary system?" Pretty radical thought. :stirpot

Sometimes it is hard to call your baby ugly, but either something has to change or we can just take comfort in that we are good defending against the run. Too bad the rest of the league is not that interested in running the football.

It's much better to switch back and forth between the 4-3 and the 3-4 every other year like the legendary defenses in Cleveland and Denver do. :roll:

With the stability of a system in place, coaches, scouts, and front office execs know what type of prospects we are looking for in the draft and free agency. That is why we are able to select players with the future 2-3 years down the road in mind, not looking to plug in untested rookies into the starting lineup for a quick fix.

In Cleveland, they expect Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard to come in and start right away, even though they have had no minicamps, OTA's, playbooks to study, or exposure to NFL coaching at this point.

In Cincinnati, they expect A.J. Green and Andy Dalton to come in and start right away, even though they have had no minicamps, OTA's, playbooks to study, or exposure to NFL coaching at this point.

In Baltimore, they expect Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith to come in and start right away, even though they have had no minicamps, OTA's, playbooks to study, or exposure to NFL coaching at this point.

In Pittsburgh, Cameron Heyward, Marcus Gilbert, Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen, Chris Carter, Keith Williams, and Baron Batch will be taught the system and will slowly be integrated into the Steeler way. Only a handful will be active on gameday, and even then for only special teams duty and only the occassional play here and there on offense or defense to keep our starters fresh.

You seem to think that not starting our rookies right off the bat is a failure on the part of our coaches. I think that needing rookies to start is a failure by your front office by leaving gaping holes that require immediate patching (and drafting to fill today's needs instead of drafting the best available guy that you think will have the most productive NFL career overall).

...and the problem becomes that lesser talented players end up on the field "because they know the system" not because they possess the best talent. That is why we had Anthony Madison on the field last year and Tyrone Carter on the field in years prior. It should be a balance but in our case it is heaviliy weighted towards learning a "complex" system. I continue to point out that Dom Capers had no problem introducing essentially the same defense but immediately getting contributions from Clay Matthews, BJ Raji, Sam Shields, etc. and winning the Super Bowl within just a couple of years. Perhaps the best way to learn is to actually do????????

RuthlessBurgher
05-09-2011, 04:31 PM
...and the problem becomes that lesser talented players end up on the field "because they know the system" not because they possess the best talent. That is why we had Anthony Madison on the field last year and Tyrone Carter on the field in years prior. It should be a balance but in our case it is heaviliy weighted towards learning a "complex" system. I continue to point out that Dom Capers had no problem introducing essentially the same defense but immediately getting contributions from Clay Matthews, BJ Raji, Sam Shields, etc. and winning the Super Bowl within just a couple of years. Perhaps the best way to learn is to actually do????????

When Capers came in and made the switch to the 3-4, there were no players on the Packers who had played a 3-4 before, so the vets did not have any advantage over the rookies. In fact, the vets may have been at a disadvantage, because they had played their entire careers in the 4-3, and old habits are hard to break. It may have been easier to mold the rookies (such as Clay Matthews) than to change the vets (such as Aaron Kampman, who was such a poor fit that he moved on Jacksonville, even though he was a very effective player for Green Bay when they ran the 4-3) who didn't fit their new scheme. Our vets already fit our scheme. That's the point. Capers and LeBeau don't do anything fundamentally different. They worked together on Cowher's staff for several years.

flippy
05-09-2011, 08:07 PM
CB is one of the easiest positions to come in a contribute immediately unless you play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And it's crazy cause Dick was a CB and Mike's a CB coach.

hawaiiansteel
05-19-2011, 06:11 PM
Cortez Allen May Just Be My Sleeper Pick to Develop Into Bigtime Player for the Pittsburgh Steelers

by Michael Bean on May 19, 2011

http://cdn3.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/1283424/82749_nfl_combine_football.jpg

3 months ago: Citadel defensive back Cortez Allen makes a catch as he runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Prior to joining Ken Laird yesterday on his tremendous Steelers 365 podcast, I came across something he wrote about Cortez Allen, a cornerback out of The Citadel that Pittsburgh selected in the fourth round of this year's draft. Several things that stuck out to me from the post, including:

He's not Ike Taylor fast, but Allen's 4.45 40-yard dash time was a fraction better than Curtis Brown's (4.5).

His speed can be traced back to his days as a track standout during high school in Florida.

He didn't start playing football until his senior year, which helps explain why Allen wound up at The Citadel. Perhaps he had better options in terms of football opportunities and really wanted to attend the military school, but even if so, it's pretty impressive he wound up with a scholarship anywhere considering when he first started playing organized ball.

The most interesting part of Laird's post though was some interesting statistics he culled from Allen's career. Laird began by noting that, yes, Allen did have only five career interceptions in college, two of which he returned for TDs, but his cover ability is better reflected in the following stats:

- 63 third down stops (58 vs. the pass) and 15 fourth down stops

- Just 69-of-197 passes (35%) and 3 TDs completed against him, with just 33 of those catches producing first downs

- Rerouting of his main coverage assignment on 102 of 128 incomplete pass attempts

- 13 of 28 starts where he did not give up a single reception

Laird also notes just how bad the rest of The Citadel's secondary was defending the pass, which also explains why he had limited opportunities to make plays and showcase his talents. A good read from Laird.

I was immediately intrigued by the young man when he was drafted on the third and final day of the 2011 NFL Draft, primarily because in addition to his solid measurables, I felt like he might have a much higher ceiling than people realize. You just don't have the same amount of time to devote to football at a program like The Citadel as you do at major D-1 schools where it's football all the time. Carnell Lake will inherit a young man with no trace of an ego who already knows the value of hard work. But I had yet to really research more about him and become familiar with his game and his personality. I still am curious and have more questions than answers, but after learning a little bit more about the job he did shutting down receivers in college makes me even more curious to see what kind of talent Cortez Allen may develop into in the NFL.

He's definitely one of many rookies that are being hurt most by the ongoing lockout, as this is the time when he'd be getting his first exposure to the intricacies of D!ck LeBeau's defense. We'll see what happens this next few months, but the lockout could ultimately cripple his chances of making the roster this year. But in time, and perhaps as even as early as this year on special teams, I think Cortez Allen is going to endear himself to Steeler Nation with his contributions on Sundays.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... ike-taylor (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/5/19/2180044/2011-nfl-draft-pittsburgh-steelers-cornerbacks-ike-taylor)