The Pittsburgh Steelers took a hard-hitting safety named Marcus Allen out of Penn State in the 2018 NFL Draft, but there was very little hitting being done by the former Nittany Lion. As it turns out, Allen’s inactive status throughout 2018 was more due to injury than an inability, or incapability, to play the game at the NFL level.
Fast forward to 2019 and the second year player is not only healthy, but making plays in Organized Team Activities (OTAs). Yes, it is nothing more than ‘football in shorts’, but for Allen it is much more than that. It is a chance for him to prove what he is capable of.
“It feels good to get back to work,” Allen told Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Last year, I wasn’t out here for OTAs so it was like being on the outside looking in and getting the feel of it.”
When reflecting back to last season, Allen felt plenty of frustration with the hamstring injury which held him out all of rookie minicamp, OTAs and even a large portion of training camp.
“It bothered me a lot. I got here, got drafted and had high expectations for myself. Being not ready and able to go out there and show what I can do was disappointing. I wanted to show what I can do. Now that I’m all good and healthy it feels like I’m back at home.”
If there was a positive spin to take away from Allen’s inactivity last year it was his ability to learn the playbook front-to-back. Now, back on the field, he can move with a speed and ferocity which got him drafted in the first place.
“It feels second nature now, honestly, just going out there and performing,” Allen said. “I know our plays and got it down pat.”
So, what should fans expect from Allen in 2019? No one really knows for sure, but Allen is ready to put his best foot forward and make plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I expect better things completely this year,” Allen said, “but just being out there last year, fulfilling my dream, was incredible. Just walking out the gates and looking at the stadium with everyone roaring was crazy.
“Every game is motivation, to be honest. Just not being out there and looking on the sideline, I knew my time was coming.”
When it comes to his position, there is certainly a spot to be had on the roster. Outside of Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds, the Steelers are looking for depth at safety, and while fans love pointing to undrafted rookies like P.J. Locke and Dravon Askew-Henry, it seems you shouldn’t forget about Allen and his potential to be the answer to the question of depth at the strong safety position.