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Old 12-29-2012, 06:23 PM   #21
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Default Re: Will Steelers Be Able To Keep FA CB Keenan Lewis?

Steelers' Allen could have bright future

Posted Dec. 28, 2012 @ 10:08 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Two days before the Steelers’ season finale, CB Cortez Allen was asked what he would take away from his second NFL campaign.

“I still have a lot of growing to do,” Allen said. “ … There’s still so much to learn.”

More improvement from Allen would be an exciting prospect for the Steelers considering the promise he has shown in 2012.

Allen’s potential was on full display in the Week 16 loss to Cincinnati, when he had a hand in all three Bengals turnovers. He twice intercepted Bengals QB Andy Dalton, and he forced an A.J. Green fumble recovered by S Ryan Clark in Pittsburgh territory. The interceptions were the first of the 24-year-old Allen’s NFL career. Allen shared credit for the takeaways with his teammates, saying that the defense’s collective play “enabled me to make the plays I did.’

Improved technique will be a focus of Allen’s offseason workouts. He figures to be no worse than the Steelers’ third cornerback in 2013, and a starting spot is quite possible, especially if Keenan Lewis departs in free agency.

We may look back and see 2012 as a “bridge” season of sorts for Allen, a campaign where he showed he could be a consistent contributor for an older defense that will need its younger players to continue to step forward.

“I do feel like I’ve progressed a little each week,” Allen said.

-- I think with the development and improvement of Cortez Allen, keeping Lewis around might still be important. Having Cortez improve the way he was over the last season has shown me that we don't necessarily need to spend a first round pick on a Corner when Ike decides it's time to hang 'em up. Allen and Lewis can anchor the secondary and we could have two younger safeties (Amerson and Lester, anyone?) play alongside them. That would give us an explosive secondary that knows how to create turnovers and get the ball back for our offense.
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