Ike Taylor Thinks Cortez Allen Can Be Way Better Than Himself

Steelers Cortez Allen

(Photo Credit: Steelers.com)

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor sang the praises of second year cornerback Cortez Allen Tuesday on his weekly radio show, which is broadcast live on Trib Live Radio.

Allen, the Steelers fourth round draft pick last year out of the Citadel, has been training this offseason with Taylor down in South Florida at the Wide World of Sports Complex under watchful eye of trainer Tom Shaw. “I\’ve got Cortez Allen down here and he\’s working like a beast,” said Taylor, when asked by co-host John Harris who Taylor had down there from the Steelers training with him this offseason.

“He\’s a very mature second year guy. The reason why he is so mature is he went to a military academy school,” said Taylor. “He kind of had to grow up early from his childhood. He\’s kind of old to be a second year guy.”

Taylor continued on with his assessment of Allen. “He knows what it takes and he wants it. He wants to get better. The good thing I like about Cortez is he doesn\’t say much, he comes to work and he does what he needs to do.”

The praise did not stop there as Taylor added, “This dude could be way better than me – if he can stay healthy.”

Taylor did caution that the mental aspect of playing the corner position is what Allen will have to show is not an obstacle for him. “Yeah everybody\’s got the physical attributes. Yeah, there\’s a lot of guys that can catch better than me, but upstairs – mentally – that\’s what separates the good guys consistently and the great guys,” said Taylor. “Mentally can they do it for 16 weeks?”

Allen, who had surgery this past offseason on what is believed to have been one of his shoulders, needs to stay on the field during training camp if he is to challenge Keenan Lewis for the starting spot opposite of Taylor. Last year Allen fought a hamstring injury for most of training camp and it forced him to miss the first three preseason games as result. When he finally played in the fourth and final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, Allen flashed in his limited action at the left outside cornerback position and even forced a turnover on a defended pass.

Once the regular season started Allen saw time on special teams and ultimately some extended playing time on defense in dime and big nickel situations in the games against the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. In total Allen saw a total 60 snaps on defense over the course of 9 Steelers regular season games. Not bad at all for a Steelers rookie on defense. Curtis Brown, who was drafted a round ahead of Allen last April, didn\’t see the field at all on defense in his rookie year.

During the offseason practices it was reported that Lewis had been getting the first team reps opposite Taylor with Allen working as the nickel in sub-packages. It appears that will remain the pecking order when training camp opens up in just over two weeks from today in Latrobe. Does Allen have a shot at the starting spot that Lewis currently holds? Anything is possible, but rest assured that Allen will see the field quite a bit this year in some capacity.

One thing is for sure and that is you can certainly hear in the voice of Taylor that he thinks Allen has what it takes to be a good cornerback for years to come. He just needs to prove it now.

  • Really could use Cortez Allen to step up this year. Taylor’s years are numbered.. Lewis has proven he’s inconsistent.. Curtis Brown plays the part but looks too small and thin to be a real dominant corner.. Cortez Allen looks the part but can he play it? small school competition? Will be interesting to see how it plays out. Regardless of what happens i think a corner is taken in the first 2 rounds of either this upcoming draft or the one that follows

  • I can’t disagree with your assessment of our corners. I’m hoping Lewis takes a step forward this year and the other two Brown and Allen stay healthy. I like what this group did in NE last year and that was without James Harrison and Woodley out in the 2nd half.

    To be honest, anything is an improvement over McFadden and Gay. Just a quick reminder since those guys had markers on their backs saying “pick on me.”

  • Nice article. I think it means a lot if Taylor is giving encouragement to Allen. Brown had injuries last pre-season that limited his on-field learning but the kid has a lot of potential. I think as things develop we’ll see a lot from Allen and Brown. I’m still not sold on Lewis. Only time will tell.

  • I will have to agree with Ike. I got to watch Allen play against Carolina in the preseason and was immediately impressed. I believe he will be a solid #1 or #2 corner when Ike decides to hang it up. As for Lewis and Brown, i believe they are solid for the nickel and dime combinations. So if we can find another solid #1 or #2 CB in the next 2 drafts, i believe will will be set at the position for the foreseeable future.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I have been praising Allen for a while now and have said that I wouldnt be surprised if he takes Lewis’s starting job…Taylor is just confirming that the kid is talented and has the potential

  • Ronk25

    Really ? As far as i’m concerned we can only thank God for that. Ike has not exactly been the shut down corner that an NFL team needs and he’s looked foolish at critical times – eg Tebow / Denver. We could use one real corner. I hope Allen is it.

  • SteelersDepot

    You clearly ONLY watched the AFC Wildcard game last year then as Ike had a GREAT 2011 season.

  • Did you actually watch the Steelers last year? Ike had one of the best seasons of any CB in the league last year. You are presenting the exception as the norm.

  • SteelSpine

    I hope Cortez Allen earns starting over Keenan Lewis, but gonna have to earn it. Lewis has not earned starting, plus I remember Lewis’ stupid onfield behavior getting himself yanked into dumbhouse. But Cortez has alot to overcome to be a starter on game one of regular season: only 1 year outta small-school competition is not common to be starter yet, & Lewis has a year advantage (& I think that’s main reason Lewis is the default starter at this moment), & this being Lewis’ contract year is tremendous incentive for Lewis to play well.

  • SteelSpine

    I wonder if Cortez Allen will get a legit shot to be a starter on day one over Keenan, or will Cortez legit shot to start be next year if Keenan or Ike gone after this year. Odds are any small-school DB will need another year of experience at CB to be a starter but I’m hoping for an early surprise from Cortez.

    Also I hope injuries dont decide which of the 3-person battle for starting CB spot opposite Ike, becomes starter for day one of regular season. Looks like Brown already fell to 3rd of those 3 due to injuries. My fingers crossed that injuries dont decide anything else between those 3.

    If Cortez doesnt win a starting CB job I wonder if he could maybe find a career at FS? He has length & the size for FS, & being good tackler on special teams maybe means above-average tackler for CB, & we really need a backup FS. Just wonderin….

  • SteelSpine

    Ike has been a solid corner, not elite tho because I-think QBs have nothing to lose throwing bomb there because Ike’s no threat to int & bring it back for TD, unlike the elite CBs are a threat to do that. There’s always only a handful of elite CBs in the league tho.

    That last Denver game revealed to me Ike is not as fast as the Steelers had always said he was, so I expect offensive coords of each opponent in our 1st several reg-season games will watch that Denver game & therefore test Ike’s speed to see if he still is fast enough.

  • Koleman Dudek

    Allen is going to be a stud, no question… Luckily all 3 of our young corners are getting time to work with Ike.. Ike is a class act, the guy has a motor like no other. He is in top shape every year, we can only hope all 3 take advantage of his experience.. As for those who think the Steeler’s will draft a corner in the top 2 rounds next year… no chance, unless it would be the ultimate “steal”