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Cortez Allen Poised for a Breakout Season Opposite Ike Taylor in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Secondary

June 24th, 2013 at 10:43 PM
By Mark Mihalko

Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense saw former cornerback Keenan Lewis (New Orleans Saints) have a breakout season for their secondary.  This season, many expect Cortez Allen to have that same type of year opposite Ike Taylor.

'Chargers @ Steelers' photo (c) 2012, Fido - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Last year, Allen seemed poised to break into the starting line-up during training camp and was barely beat by Lewis for the starting nod. Still, the big and physical cornerback garnered serious playing time in nickel and dime situations, and demonstrated some playmaking ability that many Steelers cornerbacks have lacked in previous seasons. The Steelers thought so highly of his play, they failed to offer Lewis a contract as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

An athletic corner, Allen is still developing as a player having limited development while playing at the Citadel. The former fourth round selection has clearly passed Curtis Brown, the cornerback the Steelers drafted directly in front of him in the third round out of football power Texas.

Even with the return of nickel back William Gay, it appears that the Steelers intend on keeping Allen over the slot in special packages. This would allow Allen to use his rare combination of height and quickness to cause defensive mismatches for the opposition to deal with.

One of the biggest differences between Allen and Lewis is their contract situation. Lewis had already signed his restricted free agent tender and was poised to hit unrestricted free agency when he had his breakout season. Allen is just entering his third season and has yet to play out his rookie contract, becoming a restricted free agent after the 2013 campaign. With the Steelers history of extending players, Allen could be auditioning for a lucrative contract extension in the future.  

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Tags: Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Football, Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, William Gay

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