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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The next five

Continuing with the Steelers' top 25 series, here are players No. 20-16. Keep in mind, no rookies are being ranked:

20. Will Johnson, FB. Johnson is a meat-and-potato guy who could be much more. He's big and fast and could be a bigger weapon in 2014 after getting just 10 touches in 2013.

19. Steve McLendon, NT. McLendon unfairly took the brunt of the blame for the Steelers' shoddy run defense in 2013. Many of the big gains that hurt them and their overall average were when he wasn't on the field or ran to the outside, away from the middle. Is he Casey Hampton. No. But he's solid. Many of the same people ripping him in 2013 were the same ones calling for him to play more in 2012.

18. Marcus Gilbert, RT. Gilbert is heading into a contract year hoping to hold off Mike Adams at right tackle. To this point, he's done just that. Again, he's not spectacular, but he's a decent NFL starter who still has some upside.

17. Ramon Foster, LG. Foster was forced to be the brains of the outfit up front in 2013 when Maurkice Pouncey went down. He worked with Fernando Velasco to get him up to speed, then did the same with Cody Wallace. Foster is solid and, like the rest of his linemates, still getting better.

16. Cortez Allen, CB. Allen, to this point, has barely scratched the surface on his talent. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if he jumped up into the top 10 in terms of value to the Steelers in 2014. He's big, he's got speed and he's smart in coverage. An ankle injury held him back to some extent in 2013. But he could break out in 2014. The Steelers should sign him to a contract extension before the season starts, if he'll go for it.


Anonymous said...

Given WJ's re-commitment to the TE position and his inclusion in the no-huddle offense, I think we'll see more of him this season.

Dale Lolley said...

I agree, which is why I put him where he's at even though he's not a full-time option as a fullback. I could see his touches doubling this season - in addition to being a bigger factor in the run game.

Anonymous said...

I remember Cortez rookie year in preseason...he made 2 picks and defensed a few passes too....I expect this will be his breakout year.

Anonymous said...

Any team that has Will Johnson, Marcus Gilbert and Cortez Allen among their 20 best players is in deep deep trouble.

Anonymous said...

I think you overestimate how talented other teams are...

You are what your record says you are, and as an 8-8 team, the Steelers represent an average talent NFL team.

Of course with a franchise QB we always have a chance to make some noise.

marc said...

ike not too happy about his pay cut, apparently. who would be when they drop over $4 million!?