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Cortez Allen: A diamond in the rough?

One of the emerging players in the NFL was recogized as such by a major scouting analyst.

Karl Walter

ESPN's Aaron Schatz released his top 25 under-the-radar players for the upcoming season which you can read here. It's insider content so I won't post the entire article but he lists Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen at number four. Here's what he had to say about him:

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.

And here is his criteria for the list:

• 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

Interestingly enough he also mention's Isaac Redman but excludes him from the list because of that last qualifier.

"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."