A raw, talented, physical cornerback from a small school selected near the end of the fourth round. That combination back in 2003 worked out quite well for the Steelers with Ike Taylor, and they picked a player with a similar profile in 2011 with the Citadel’s Cortez Allen with pick No. 130.
Allen is the second defensive back to drafted by the Steelers this weekend, joining Curtis Brown from Texas in Round 3.
Secondary coach Carnell Lake, via Ken Laird on Twitter, said that Allen is “pretty quick, pretty fast, can play both bump and off coverage” and has “a lot of upside.” The Steelers haven’t used high picks on defensive backs in recent years, instead opting to pick them in bunches in the mid-late rounds: William Gay (fifth round in ’07), Ryan Mundy (sixth round in ’08), Keenan Lewis (third round in ’09), Joe Burnett (fifth round in ’09) Crezdon Butler (fifth round round in ’10) and now Brown (third round) and Allen (fourth round) in 2011.
So far, the results have been mixed to put it kindly. If nothing else this is a pretty strong message to Lewis that it’s time to step up or move on, and it’s quite a bit of competition for Butler (and perhaps Bryant McFadden and Gay) as well.