Since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Marcus Allen wasn’t cutting it at safety — at least not to the point of earning a spot on the active roster.
Assuredly frustrating considering many draftniks projected Allen as having second- or third-round talent coming out of Penn State.
But finally, two seasons later, Allen cracked the 53-man roster — this time, at inside linebacker. The transition from safety to linebacker is something that was considered as a possibility since he joined the team, as part of what attracted Pittsburgh to Allen was his physicality, intimidation factor and hunger for hitting.
While the Steelers need depth at inside linebacker, they’re even thinner at strong safety. So, it’s an interesting decision.
And what’s even more interesting is, not only did Allen switch positions, but he surpassed Ulysees Gilbert III. Gilbert did miss the last 10 games of the 2019 season with a back injury, but there were high expectations for a rebound. Moving Allen to the backup inside linebacker spot is a clear statement that the Steelers need to see more from UGIII, and the five weeks of training camp just didn’t do it.
With no preseason games, Week 1 is going to be something of an experiment for everyone. We’ll have to wait and see how this particular test works out for Allen and the defensive makeup going forward.