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RuthlessBurgher
07-17-2012, 03:21 PM
Here are the criteria:

• Drafted in the third round or later, or signed as an undrafted free agent
• Entered the NFL between 2009 and 2011
• Fewer than five career games started
• Still on their initial contract
• Age 26 or younger in 2012

(For what it's worth, Mike Wallace topped this list in 2010 following his rookie campaign)

Here is what they had to say about Cortez:

4. Cortez Allen, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers

When the Steelers drafted Allen in the fourth round out of The Citadel, he was considered by many to be a long-term project at corner. The Steelers had success picking Ike Taylor in the fourth round in similar circumstances. As a rookie, it was Allen who saw playing time in dime packages while third-round cornerback Curtis Brown stuck to special teams. In the Steelers' Week 8 win over the Patriots, Pittsburgh used Allen regularly to cover New England's athletic tight ends. Allen has long limbs, a very smooth backpedal and can play physical. He should move up to the nickel back role this year, but don't be surprised if he beats out Keenan Lewis for a starting CB job in training camp.

You can find the entire top-25 list here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8171533/nfl-ranking-nfl-top-prospects

Shoe
07-17-2012, 03:29 PM
WOW. That's interesting. Considering that probably no one outside of Pittsburgh even knows who he is. (Even most Pittsburgh "fans" probably don't know!)

Either the person who compiled the list is a unabashed homer, or they know something that maybe even we don't (i.e. talking to coaches), etc. This makes me feel more optimistic; I can't wait to watch him in preseason.

Oviedo
07-17-2012, 03:37 PM
I'm on record as saying that Curtis Brown is a better player than Allen. I hope Allen becomes a superstar but Brown is not getting the credit he deserves as the most athletic CB we have. A ball comes his way I'm not worried about him dropping it.

RuthlessBurgher
07-17-2012, 03:50 PM
I'm on record as saying that Curtis Brown is a better player than Allen. I hope Allen becomes a superstar but Brown is not getting the credit he deserves as the most athletic CB we have. A ball comes his way I'm not worried about him dropping it.

I thought Cortez had more physical ability and potential than Curtis (oozing with upside), but thought that Brown was a more polished corner (coming from Texas rather than the Citadel). But the fact that Allen saw the field on defense before Brown tells me that Allen has more polish and potential. No knock on Brown necessarily...I see him as more of a Deshea-like prospect (solid and undervalued), but see Cortez as more of an Ike-like prospect (potentially dominant...and hopefully with better hands).

D Rock
07-17-2012, 06:55 PM
I'm on record as saying that Curtis Brown is a better player than Allen. I hope Allen becomes a superstar but Brown is not getting the credit he deserves as the most athletic CB we have. A ball comes his way I'm not worried about him dropping it.


His name might as well be Joe Burnett!

SidSmythe
07-17-2012, 06:59 PM
Personally I like Both Allen & Brown.

Both have shown glimpses of potential in the NFL already. Brown on Special Teams and Allen against N.E.

It'll be nice to see both push Lewis for playing time.

Djfan
07-17-2012, 08:03 PM
Interesting that he offered his opinion about him beating out Lewis. What is up with that? Lewis seems to have a lot going for him, but a dark cloud over his head.

Eddie Spaghetti
07-17-2012, 08:15 PM
Interesting that he offered his opinion about him beating out Lewis. What is up with that? Lewis seems to have a lot going for him, but a dark cloud over his head.

well, he certainly won't beat out taylor.

so lewis is the logical assumption.

Shoe
07-18-2012, 12:49 AM
I'm on record as saying that Curtis Brown is a better player than Allen. I hope Allen becomes a superstar but Brown is not getting the credit he deserves as the most athletic CB we have. A ball comes his way I'm not worried about him dropping it.

Not bashing your opinion, but why wasn't he a superstar then at UT? He caathlme in highly touted, so it's not like he didn't have the momentum to make a name for himself there for some reason. He got a lot of playing time... UT has a history of producing good DBs...

From all reports, he's very athletic. But being that athletic, I wonder why he wasn't drafted higher than he was (i.e. something must be missing).

NJ-STEELER
07-18-2012, 08:50 PM
allen has prototypical CB size. i'm hoping he's the starter opposite Ike

keeps brown in the slot

NJ-STEELER
07-18-2012, 08:53 PM
does anyone have an account.

all i was able to see was #1 baldwin

RuthlessBurgher
07-18-2012, 09:11 PM
does anyone have an account.

all i was able to see was #1 baldwin

It was too long to post, so I only posted the Steeler-related part. If you want it all, here it is, in parts:


NFL's top 25 prospects
Doug Baldwin, Pernell McPhee, Jeremy Kerley among top prospects
Originally Published: July 17, 2012
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders

Everybody loves a first-round pick. First-round picks are more likely to become NFL stars than players chosen in the second round, second-round picks are more likely to become NFL stars than players chosen in the third round and so on. However, those first-round stars aren't enough to build a championship team. The best teams know how to mine for additional talent, both when choosing in the late rounds of the draft and when dialing up undrafted free agents when the draft is over. This kind of talent collection takes quality scouting, combined with an understanding of how to fit players with limitations into your team's offensive and defensive schemes.

It also takes a little bit of luck, like stumbling upon an undrafted wide receiver with so much skill at running option routes that he can gain 1,500 yards in his first full season. Find yourself a Victor Cruz, and you could end the season holding up the Lombardi Trophy, just like Giants general manager Jerry Reese. It doesn't hurt that Reese also found useful players in Round 6 (Greg Jones) and Round 7 (Ahmad Bradshaw), to go with quality undrafted free agents like Jake Ballard, Mark Herzlich and Cruz.

Each year, Football Outsiders looks for similar hidden talents who haven't yet made their impact on the league with our top 25 prospects list. For the uninitiated, our top prospects list isn't like the prospect lists you read about in the world of baseball. Because the top prospects in college football are stars on national television before they get taken in the first round of the NFL draft, there's not much utility in listing them here. Everyone knows Andrew Luck is a top prospect who is likely to succeed in the NFL.

Instead, we use a combination of statistics, measurables, context and expected role to compile a list of under-the-radar players whom we expect to make an impact in the NFL, both in 2012 and beyond.

We limit the pool to players who fit the following criteria:

• Drafted in the third round or later, or signed as an undrafted free agent
• Entered the NFL between 2009 and 2011
• Fewer than five career games started
• Still on their initial contract
• Age 26 or younger in 2012

That last item is new for this season, and is meant to ensure that we list players who could play a significant role in the NFL over the next few years, not just in 2012. To give two examples, running backs Bernard Scott and Isaac Redman are definitely important to their teams' plans this season. But, as each of them is already 28, they aren't really promising players for the long term. Other players who would have made the list if not for the age limit include Jacksonville running back Rashad Jennings, Detroit defensive end Willie Young and Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta.

In the past, our No. 1 prospects have included wideouts Miles Austin (2009) and Mike Wallace (2010). However, this isn't strictly a fantasy football list; in fact, last year it was the defensive players who made the biggest impact. DT Geno Atkins (sixth) made the Pro Bowl; CB Lardarius Webb (ninth) started 15 games and had 22 passes defensed, earning a huge contract from Baltimore in the offseason; S Morgan Burnett (second) and LB Erik Walden (16th) started most of the year for a team that nearly went undefeated (although Walden will likely lose his starting job to rookie Nick Perry in 2012). Even one of last year's honorable mention defenders, Seattle S Kam Chancellor, made the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

You'll see a number of references to Football Outsiders stats on our list, in particular DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), which takes every play and compares its success to the NFL average based on situation and opponent. You can read more about that and other FO stats on this page.

RuthlessBurgher
07-18-2012, 09:12 PM
Here are Football Outsiders' top 25 prospects:

1. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

It feels like cheating to include Baldwin on our top prospects list; after all, this is the guy who led Seattle receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He was the first player since the AFL-NFL merger to lead his team in receiving yards as an undrafted rookie. Just for good measure, Baldwin also had 14.2 percent DVOA while every other Seattle receiver with at least 10 targets was below zero. Nevertheless, Baldwin only started one game last year, because he was used strictly as a slot receiver. Out of Baldwin's 86 targets, only two came with just two wide receivers in the formation -- and on one of those plays, Baldwin was actually in the backfield, so the personnel was still three wide receivers. Baldwin is tough going for passes over the middle despite his small size (5-foot-10, 190 pounds). He's good at running precise routes and finding soft spots in zones. The next test is working on the perimeter from two-receiver sets against starting corners instead of nickelbacks.



2. Martez Wilson, DE-LB, New Orleans Saints

Wilson played sparingly in 2011. He produced just one major highlight, sacking Cam Newton on a blitz up the middle for a 16-yard loss. The old regime used Wilson as a situational blitz-package player, when they used him at all. Steve Spagnuolo has moved Wilson from linebacker to defensive end, a more natural position for a player with a Jevon Kearse-meets-Jason Pierre-Paul body type. Wilson, a third-round pick in 2011, played middle linebacker at Illinois, a sign that college and pro coaches have been baffled about where to put a 6-foot-4, 250-pounder with 4.4-range 40-times, 36-inch arms and an over 10-foot standing broad jump. If any coach knows how to get the most out of that kind of player, it's Spagnuolo.



3. Everson Griffen, DE-LB, Minnesota Vikings

Once thought to be a second- or even first-round talent, Griffen ended up falling to Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2010 draft due to worries about his off-field decorum more than his raw technique. The former still may be a problem (he was arrested for public intoxication in January 2011) but the latter is becoming more polished. That means it may finally be time for Griffen's breakout. As a part-time pass-rusher in 2011, Griffen had four sacks, nine hurries, three quarterback hits and two forced fumbles. He's supremely talented, with an explosive burst off the edge and good inside quickness. He provides coverage almost as readily as pass-rushing prowess, which is very important for a team that likes to drop defensive ends into coverage as often as Minnesota does. The Vikings are trying to figure out ways to get Griffen on the field more often, and may use him as a linebacker in some packages next season.



4. Cortez Allen, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers

When the Steelers drafted Allen in the fourth round out of The Citadel, he was considered by many to be a long-term project at corner. The Steelers had success picking Ike Taylor in the fourth round in similar circumstances. As a rookie, it was Allen who saw playing time in dime packages while third-round cornerback Curtis Brown stuck to special teams. In the Steelers' Week 8 win over the Patriots, Pittsburgh used Allen regularly to cover New England's athletic tight ends. Allen has long limbs, a very smooth backpedal and can play physical. He should move up to the nickel back role this year, but don't be surprised if he beats out Keenan Lewis for a starting CB job in training camp.



5. Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots

Ridley has good lower-body control and balance with a powerful stride, although he's not the fastest back out there. (He has a speed score of 95.4, where 100 is generally average). The Pats really started to use him in the last five weeks of the regular season, when he had 5.2 yards per carry and a 57 percent success rate. He needs work on blocking and receiving, which limits his ability to play on third downs but also makes him a nice complement to Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead. Of course, he also needs work on his hands after fumbling in back-to-back games near the end of his rookie season, which put him on the bench for most of the playoffs. But he didn't have fumble problems at LSU, and there's a good chance that the back-to-back fumbles were just random chance, not evidence of a real issue.




6. Pernell McPhee, DE, Baltimore Ravens

As a rookie in 2011, McPhee took advantage of offenses worrying about Terrell Suggs to notch six sacks as a situational pass-rusher. McPhee primarily came on the field in clear passing situations, particularly on third downs, and really came alive in the second half of the year. Although he had three sacks through Week 9 and his other three sacks afterwards, 15 of his 16.5 regular-season hurries came in Baltimore's final eight games. McPhee is all about motor, and his technique is still developing. He came out of Mississippi State as a better athlete than football player. McPhee had minor arthroscopic surgery this offseason but should be healthy in time for training camp, where he will battle Arthur Jones for the starting spot at defensive end vacated by Cory Redding. It will be interesting to see how McPhee fits as a 5-technique in the Ravens' base defense, because he's much more suited to the more conventional way the Ravens use their defensive ends in nickel packages.



7. Allen Bailey, DE, Kansas City Chiefs

Bailey, a third-round rookie, made only eight plays last year, but five of them were defeats. He's a two-time All-ACC player who twice led the Miami Hurricanes in sacks, a versatile talent who was an outside linebacker as a freshman, then later started at both defensive end and tackle. The pessimistic term for this, of course, would be "tweener," as he's too slow to play defensive end in a 4-3, and not quite big enough to be an NFL defensive tackle. Romeo Crennel has a pretty good history with "tweeners" like Bailey who have smarts and a nonstop motor. The Chiefs occasionally used him last year as a situational pass-rusher on passing downs. This year, they'll likely use him a lot more often, and it isn't far-fetched to think he could earn a starting job in 2013.



8. James Brewer, OT, New York Giants

The Super Bowl champs were perfectly happy to let Kareem McKenzie leave in free agency this offseason because they're fairly confident that Brewer can take over the right tackle spot in his sophomore year. (If he fails in training camp, there is a backup plan: Kevin Boothe at left guard with David Diehl at right tackle.) Brewer has long arms and good balance with a strong lower base. Unfortunately, he also has a history of knee and ankle injuries, which helped knock him down to the fourth round of last year's draft.



9. Akeem Dent, LB, Atlanta Falcons

Dent was trapped behind Curtis Lofton last season, but he was the Falcons' top special teams player. The 2011 third-round pick recorded 19 special-teams tackles and 16 return stops (plays which end a return short of what our special teams rating system considers league average), tying Heath Farwell of the Seahawks for the league lead. Special teams coach Keith Armstrong often singled Dent out as the hardest worker on his units. Dent worked behind Lofa Tatupu at middle linebacker during minicamps, but Tatupu has had numerous knee injuries and concussions, and is coming off what amounts to a year of family leave. Dent could develop into a star if he gets his chance.



10. DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Oakland Raiders

Van Dyke barely makes the list; he was a third-round pick, and started four games as a rookie. Our game charting project shows him with only 4.6 adjusted yards per pass and a success rate of 67 percent. Those numbers are among the league's best, but come with the small sample size caveat. In the past, small sample size charting numbers have picked out some soon-to-breakout stars (Cortland Finnegan) but also some busts. Van Dyke has the athletic talent to be a starting corner if he can work on his technique and discipline. At Miami, he was more potential than performance, and even got benched halfway through his senior season because he was struggling on the field. The Raiders signed free agents Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer to be their starting cornerbacks, but Van Dyke could grab one of those jobs if he shows enough in training camp.

RuthlessBurgher
07-18-2012, 09:13 PM
11. Evan Royster, RB, Washington Redskins

Royster, a sixth-rounder from Penn State, put up the best rushing DVOA ever by a running back with at least 40 carries. Similar small-sample size studs of the past didn't necessarily develop into star backs. However, they did generally develop into useful part-time players, and Mike Shanahan certainly does have a history of getting the best out of his running backs. Royster also brings blocking skills and good hands as a receiver to the table.



12. Brice McCain, CB, Houston Texans

Putting together this list, we were stuck with a bit of a quandary when it came to a number of talented young nickelbacks. More and more each year, nickelback has essentially become a "starting" position. Players may not get more than one or two "games started" in the stat book, but they play almost as many snaps as the starting cornerbacks. Some teams even move their starters inside to that nickel position, so the "backup" is actually an outside cornerback. But while these nickelbacks have already had a big impact on their teams, many of them are also limited. Covering the slot is what they do best; good numbers as a nickelback don't necessarily forecast a player who would be successful as a starting corner on the outside.

In the end, we mostly tried to keep our Top 25 Prospects list to cornerbacks who we feel have the biggest chance to develop into every-down starters who can play both slot and outside. But we did make this one exception, because McCain's numbers last season were so phenomenal. McCain actually ended up first in success rate among all corners with at least 40 targets (he's listed as fifth in the Houston chapter of "Football Outsiders Almanac 2012" because of adjustments for the quality of the receivers he covered). He also finished 11th with just 5.7 adjusted yards per pass allowed. In retrospect, it's almost incredible that the Texans even bothered to try McCain on the outside in 2010. Freed from the oppressive regime of Frank Bush, McCain's reading and recognition skills were much better utilized, and he even made a couple of nice plays off the blitz in 2011. He's never going to be a shutdown outside corner, but you don't need to be one to be important in today's NFL.



13. Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets

Ignore the way the Jets messed around with Kerley in the Wildcat last year. He's really a Wes Welker type: a small, quick, slot receiver who's elusive enough to ring up yards after the catch. Right now he's ticketed to be the third receiver when the Jets go three-wide, but considering how raw rookie Stephen Hill is, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Kerley as a starter who then moves inside to the slot when the Jets go three-wide. He's also likely to run all kinds of fun reverses and end-arounds when the Jets go to their Tebow package of wackiness. Incidentally, Kerley had 17 of his 29 catches and 226 of his 314 yards against AFC East opponents. This is good because the Jets have to play those teams each twice; it's bad because they weren't particularly hard defenses to put up yards against.



14. O'Brien Schofield, LB, Arizona Cardinals

Schofield had 12 sacks as a senior defensive end at Wisconsin, but fell down draft boards when he tore his ACL at the Senior Bowl. The Cardinals snatched him in the fourth round and it was a perfect match; Schofield wasn't going to make it as a defensive end in the pros at just 240 pounds, but he has the ideal body type for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Schofield has 6.5 sacks in a year and a half of part-time play. (He didn't take the field as a rookie until Week 8 because of the ACL recovery.) He also led the Cardinals with 12 tackles on special teams last year. Although the Cardinals did decide to re-sign veteran Clark Haggans, the plan is for Schofield to take his spot as the starting strongside linebacker with Haggans as the backup.



15. Karl Klug, DT, Tennessee Titans

We're not going to pretend that Klug, a 2011 fifth-round pick out of Iowa, isn't limited as a player. He's probably too undersized (275 pounds) to become an every-down defensive tackle in the NFL. And admittedly, his rookie total of seven sacks looks like a bit of a fluke, since it was only accompanied by three hits and three hurries. Looking through his sacks, several were garbage sacks after the ends did the real work or the quarterback held the ball too long. However, he also made a couple of great plays on stunts, and sometimes he just ran through guards both unknown (Seth Olsen) and famous (Carl Nicks). Plus, there are the plays you won't find in his sack total, like four passes batted away at the line, or the tackles of Donald Brown and Jason Snelling that forced no gain on second-and-1. Klug has great hands, leverage and a nice repertoire of rush moves, and he should be bringing the pain on Andrew Luck for the next few years.



16. Ryan Mallett, QB, Patriots

Even though Mallett didn't step on the field during the regular season, everything that scouts said about him a year ago is still true. He's still a tall, classic pocket passer with elite arm strength who can drop the deep ball in with a beautiful touch pass. He also can't throw well on the run and will take a ton of sacks. He's had a year under the tutelage of Bill O'Brien and Tom Brady, and hopefully they helped him work on improving his decision-making skills, both on and off the field. Mallett is still likely to earn a job as an NFL starter someday, and it's still likely to be somewhere other than New England.



17. Buster Skrine, CB, Cleveland Browns

The fifth-round rookie out of Tennessee-Chattanooga earned more playing time as season went along, eventually snagging his first NFL interception in Week 15. Our charting numbers have him with 5.7 adjusted yards per pass on 14 targets. He's a smaller guy (5-10), but quickly got a reputation around the Browns for his aggressive nature. Skrine can be physical in press and strong in run support. He's got a good backpedal but lacks top-end straight speed. If he develops a bit more, he may replace Sheldon Brown in the starting lineup as early as next season.



18. Cam Thomas, DT, San Diego Chargers

Thomas was generally hailed as a steal when the Chargers snagged him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, but he played in just six games as a rookie and only had seven tackles (although two of those were sacks). Last year, we saw a bit more of what Thomas can do, with four sacks, three quarterback hits and 6.5 hurries, plus an 87 percent stop rate on run tackles. He has rare natural strength and can both get to the quarterback in a one-gap and stuff up the run in a two-gap. It's unlikely Thomas will take a starting job away from Antonio Garay, but he's a useful piece when San Diego goes to four linemen (which they did on nearly 20 percent of snaps last year).



19. Marcus Cannon, OL, Patriots

Cannon was a flat-out steal for the Patriots. He's a huge guy with quick feet, and draftniks expected him to go as early as the second round before he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma before the draft. The Pats were perfectly happy to take him in the fifth round and wait for him to complete chemotherapy, and by Week 11 he was getting snaps in a regular-season game. Cannon was a right tackle at TCU and could spell Sebastian Vollmer in a pinch if necessary, but he's much better suited for guard in the pros because he has trouble with bull rushers. He will likely replace Brian Waters at right guard whenever Waters decides he feels like retiring.



20. Victor Butler, LB, Dallas Cowboys

Butler was a fourth-round pick out of Oregon State in 2009. He's been hiding under the surface in Dallas, with only one game started in three years but eight total sacks as a backup linebacker. His playing time has gone up a little bit each year, and in 2011 Butler had three sacks, 10 hurries and four quarterback hits. He also got a stop on all 10 of his run tackles. Rob Ryan wants to get a heavy pass rush from his outside linebackers, and that's what Butler brings to the table. Actually, his biggest task going forward may be gaining experience doing other things, since the outside linebackers in Dallas (especially the ones who are not DeMarcus Ware) do drop into coverage sometimes. Anthony Spencer will be playing on the franchise tag this year, so perhaps Butler will get more playing time to test if he's ready to start in 2013.

RuthlessBurgher
07-18-2012, 09:13 PM
21. Vincent Brown, WR, Chargers

The Chargers love this local third-round pick (out of San Diego State) who has drawn comparisons to Derrick Mason. He has good hands and quick feet, but isn't great at getting separation on vertical routes. The trick is to use him right: He should be the possession receiver with Robert Meachem and Malcom Floyd as the deep threats, but the Chargers sent him 20 or more yards on 14 of his 40 targets, plus a 27-yard defensive pass interference. He also needs to work on getting open against NFL corners, as an awful lot of his passes as a rookie were either defensed or saw Brown immediately tackled without yards after the catch. Once he improves, he could be the dynamic intermediate option the Chargers were lacking last year when TE Antonio Gates was out of the lineup.



22. Phillip Hunt, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

Hunt left the University of Houston in 2009 and when he couldn't stick on the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent, he went north to Winnipeg and led the CFL with 16 sacks in 2010. The Eagles brought him back down south last year, hoping to get Cameron Wake Part II. They didn't get that, partly because Hunt was deep in the defensive end rotation. However, in limited time, Hunt had two sacks, 6.5 hurries, four quarterback hits and drew two holding flags. Scouts might be confused because he's built like a 244-pound square, not like the athletic stud suggested by his workout numbers. But he's a good power and leverage guy, and he's flashed a bit as an inside crasher. The strange thing is that there may not be room for Hunt on the roster after the Eagles drafted Vinny Curry and picked up Monte Taylor off waivers. If they cut him, there's going to be a very promising pass-rusher out on the open market for almost no cost. Anybody looking for one of those?



23. D.J. Smith, LB, Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson is known for finding contributors amidst the ranks of undrafted free agents, but this one he actually found on draft day. A sixth-rounder from Appalachian State, Smith was inconsistent as a rookie but showed intriguing potential in his three starts. Smith showed more juice and explosiveness than Desmond Bishop, who started ahead of him, but can't be considered quite as reliable yet. Smith moves with good athleticism in tight areas and can sift through traffic to get to the ballcarrier. Scouts generally considered him weak in pass coverage coming out of college, but the Packers were unafraid to use him in nickel and dime packages.



24. Ricardo Lockette, WR, Seahawks

The Seahawks are swimming in receivers with as-yet unrealized potential, but these final two prospects are two of are our favorites. Lockette was a track star at Fort Valley State, and spent most of last season on the practice squad before catching two passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in the final two weeks of the season. The team appears high on him but he's raw like sushi. If he can learn more than one route and show more consistency as a receiver, he could be a big-play guy in Seattle.



25. Kris Durham, WR, Seahawks

Durham was Seattle's fourth-round pick last year out of Georgia. He averaged over 20 yards per catch as a senior, but just can't stay healthy. He's torn a shoulder labrum twice, once in college and then again last year after just three games. (The Seahawks weren't clear about which shoulder he tore, so we don't know if Durham has torn each one once or the left one twice.) If he can stay healthy, Durham is a big receiver (6-5, 215) who could take over the role Mike Williams played in Pete Carroll's first two seasons in Seattle.

Honorable mentions:
Darvin Adams, WR, Panthers
Joe Barksdale, OT, Raiders
Junior Galette, DE, Saints
Andre Neblett, DT, Carolina Panthers
Da'Rel Scott, RB, Giants

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8171533/nfl-ranking-nfl-top-prospects

hawaiiansteel
08-06-2012, 09:52 PM
Cortez Allen Could be Steelers Next Great Corner

by SteelBlitz
Aug 6, 2012

http://steelblitz.com/wp-content/themes/londoncreative/scripts/timthumb.php?src=http://steelblitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/cortez-allen-vs-baltimore-11062011-nfl_medium_540_360.jpg&w=560&zc=1&h=300

Cortez Allen didn’t start playing football until his Senior year of High School, but that didn’t stop him from getting a scholarship to continue playing. Allen was so impressive in his first year of football that he earned a scholarship to The Citadel. During his time there he became a top corner and played well. He showed great athleticism and a knack for the game of football. Heading into the 2011 Draft he was considered one of the top developmental prospects in the entire draft. The Steelers took a chance on Allen in the fourth round. It was expected that Allen would be the type of player that would need a year or two of coaching before being ready to step in on defense, but he showed he has a quick learning curve by playing in nickle packages during the 2011 season. Allen beat out Curtis Brown, the teams third round pick, who was expected to be a more polished corner coming out of college.

Heading into their second season Allen and Brown are in a competition with Keenan Lewis for the second cornerback spot opposite Ike Taylor. As of now it sounds like Allen and Lewis are leading the charge. According to media at training camp both Lewis and Allen have looked very good so far. As has Curtis Brown while playing the nickle spot. In fact, Lewis, who suffered a minor injury a few days back, refused to sit out a day of practice. Most believe this refusal was due to him not wanting to fall behind one of the other young corners.

Early in July Ike Taylor made comments about Cortez Allen. According to SteelersDepot.com Taylor was singing Allen’s praises in early July:

“He’s a very mature second year guy. The reason why he is so mature is he went to a military academy school,” said Taylor. “He kind of had to grow up early from his childhood. He’s kind of old to be a second year guy (In his attitude and demeanor, Allen is only 23).”

“He knows what it takes and he wants it. He wants to get better. The good thing I like about Cortez is he doesn’t say much, he comes to work and he does what he needs to do.” Taylor went on to say, “This dude could be way better than me – if he can stay healthy”

When I first read these quotes almost a month ago I thought it was just a veteran trying to give a second year player some confidence before his first training camp (remember, due to the lockout all 2011 rookies hadn’t experienced training camp until now). Which is another huge praise for Allen. After being considered a project player Allen played on the Steelers defense as a rookie, not an easy task, and he did so with no offseason activities and no training camp. However, after looking at Allen’s play in 2011 and hearing the media so far during the 2012 training camp I think Allen may be the next great Steelers corner.

Ike Taylor is 32 and will need to pass off the torch sooner or later. As of now it looks like Allen may be the best of the group behind Taylor. Not to knock Lewis or Brown either; Brown is a very exciting player and will see time on defense in 2012 and Lewis has really turned a corner over the past year and still has the inside track to be the number two cornerback. However, if Allen continues to progress the way he has he will be the star of the Steelers defensive backfield in a few years. Remember Taylor, Ryan Clark, and Troy Polamalu aren’t getting any younger; it wouldn’t surprise me if all three had left or retired in 3-4 years.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/cortez_allen_could_be_steelers_next_great_corner/11387596

RuthlessBurgher
08-07-2012, 12:54 PM
I'm really excited about Cortez. I think he could parlay some of the occassional flashes of brilliance during his rookie season into a full-fledged coming-out party in year two...the Antonio Brown of the defense, so to speak.

Shoe
08-07-2012, 01:54 PM
I'm really excited about Cortez. I think he could parlay some of the occassional flashes of brilliance during his rookie season into a full-fledged coming-out party in year two...the Antonio Brown of the defense, so to speak.

Agreed, and comparing him to AB is good. It would indicate (like it did for Antonio) that he won the opportunity. I would be pumped to see Allen starting opposite FaceMeToast on Opening Day.