By Mark Kaboly, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Eight years ago, they drafted cornerback Ike Taylor in the fourth round (124th overall) out of Louisiana-Lafayette, even though he had played the position only two years.
The Steelers again opted to select a cornerback in fourth round, choosing with the Cortez Allen — a 6-foot-1, 197-pound corner out of out of The Citadel — with the 128th pick.
"This is a height, weight, speed prospect along the lines of Ike Taylor physically," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
Taylor is an unrestricted free agent, and with the uncertainty surrounding the NFL's labor situation and free agency put on hold, the Steelers are uncertain whether they will be able to lock up Taylor with a long-term deal — especially because his asking price might approach $10 million a season.
So the Steelers addressed their need at cornerback in the draft when they selected Texas' Curtis Brown in the third round and Allen in the fourth.
While Brown may be more of a polished prospect, Allen has raw talent. He played just one year of high school football, started only 28 games for a Division I-AA program and had just five interceptions.
"The Citadel is not a football factory," defensive backs coach Carnell Lake said. " A lot of the work that he gets is very limited in terms of football, but we noticed that with limited experience, he looked pretty natural at cornerback."
Allen split time with his mom in San Diego and dad in Ocala, Fla., preventing him from playing youth football. He didn't decide to go out for the high school team until his junior year.
Despite a eye-opening senior year at North Marion (Fla.), where he allowed just three completions to receivers all season and was named to the Florida all-state team, Allen decided to attend The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C., where football wasn't always his first priority.
So when Allen visited the Steelers last month, Lake wanted to know just how much time he was afforded to work on his football skills.
"He said, 'I don't get a lot of time because I have to do The Citadel stuff,'" Lake said. "So I said this guy is really playing well, and he's not working on his craft that much because of his limited time. If he can spend a lot of time working on his craft, I see a lot of upside for him."
Allen, who doesn't have any military obligations after graduating in December, thinks The Citadel helped him get drafted by the Steelers.
"I don't think it hindered me at all," Allen said. "If anything, it made me a better person to be able to manage all that. I felt that if I worked hard enough, I would get noticed playing football."
The Steelers are thin at corner, making Allen's development paramount. William Gay is also an unrestricted free agent, leaving Bryant McFadden and unproven Keenan Lewis as the other top corners on the roster.
Steelers' Third-day Draft Picks
College: The Citadel
Notables: Allen, 23, finished career with 120 tackles, 20 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and five interceptions. ... Started 28 of 39 games for the Bulldogs. ... Did not allow any receptions in 13 of the 29 games he started. ... Only played one year of high school varsity football at North Marion High School in Ocala, Fla., but was named Florida all-state as a senior. He allowed only three receptions his senior year. ... Graduated from The Citadel in December with a health and wellness degree. ... Missed the 2007 season because of a torn ACL. ... Was a 2010 second-team All-Conference selection. ... Is only the second Division I-AA player the Steelers have drafted in the Kevin Colbert era, joining Hofstra's Willie Colon in 2006. ... Visited the Steelers on April 7. ... Ran a 4.5 40-yard dash.
College: Fresno State
Notables: Carter, 22, started 38 games (32 at defensive end and six at outside linebacker). ... Started the final 26 games of his collegiate career at defensive end. ... Will be converted to a pass-rushing linebacker with the Steelers. ... Was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior; collected 11 sacks and 16.5 tackles for losses. ... Finished his career with 19.5 sacks and 205 tackles. ... Seventh all-time at Fresno State in sacks. ... Studied philosophy and pre-law. ... Earned Academic All-State honors at Henry K. Kaiser High School in Fontana, Calif. ... Ran 4.58 40-yard dash at the Combine. ... Older brother David Carter - a 6-3, 297-pound defensive tackle at UCLA -- was selected by Arizona in the sixth round.
Notables: Just turned 23. ... Ran a 5.28 40-yard dash at the Combine. ... Williams finished his career with 34 starts, the most of any of Nebraska's 2010 offensive players, and played in 50 total games. ... Helped lead the Cornhuskers to the top rushing offense in the Big 12. ... His play helped Nebraska rack up 10 games with 200 rushing yards, including back-to-back 300-yard rushing efforts early in his senior year against Idaho and Washington ... Is a very physical guard who can pull effectively to either side. ... Can play either guard spot. ... Needs to work on his pass protection skills. ... Visited the Steelers on April 19.
College: Texas Tech
Notables: A speedy third down back with good hands and quickness. ... Ranks eighth on the school's career rushing yardage list (2,501). ... Ranks ninth on the career all-purpose yardage list (3,612). ... Tallied the most career all-purpose yards since Danny Amendola (3,839, 2004-07). ... Tied for eighth place on Tech career touchdowns list (32). ... Played in 13 games (11 starts) and led team with 177 carries and 816 yards (4.6 avg.) rushing while averaging a team-high 62.8 yards per game as a senior. ... Became just the eighth Texas Tech player with 2,500 career rushing yards. ... Had injured Achilles tendon that kept him out during his sophomore year. ... Will be 24 in December. ... Writes a blog: baronbatch.blogspot.com.
Read more: Fourth-round corner Allen's pedigree mirrors Ike Taylor's - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_734883.html#ixzz1L6JG8B00