Colbert On ‘Raw’ CB Brian Allen: ‘There’s Nowhere To Go But Up’

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a lot of their fans happy during the 2017 NFL Draft with their selection of Utah product Brian Allen, a former wide receiver turned cornerback who possesses size to go along with speed.

While Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and defensive backs coach Carnell Lake have both already talked some about Allen following his selection in the fifth-round of the draft, the former talked a little more about the team’s new tall cornerback during a Tuesday interview on ‘Movin’ the Chains’ on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“He’s big,” Colbert said of Allen. “6-3, he’s 215, he runs sub-4.5 on our clock and he’s raw. Raw at the position.”

Allen, who was redshirted by Utah as a freshman in 2012, was primarily used on special teams during the 2013 season as he was way down the school’s wide receiver depth chart at the time. In 2014 Utah moved Allen to the defensive side of the football and he eventually embraced the switch.

“You can ask anybody: I’m very physical,” Allen said in 2014, according to Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune. “I like to get physical.”

According to Goon, Allen moved around quite a bit in 2014 and that included him working with the safeties before ultimately landing at cornerback. His 2014 season wound up being cut short by an injury, however.

Despite claiming that he likes to get physical, Allen has admitted along the way that he needs to become a better tackler and that’s something the Steelers will need to focus on with him moving forward in addition to refining his coverage skills.

“I was never really a tackler,” Allen said ahead of the 2015 season, according to Amy Donaldson of the Deseret News. “On offense, I was always known as a good blocker, but being on the opposite side of it, you have to look to come off blocks and tackle.”

As for Colbert, he likes Allen’s upside moving forward with the Steelers and it will now be up to Lake to refine the raw defensive back.

“There’s nowhere to go but up and you take a chance on just that size and speed and the productivity,” Colbert said of Allen on Tuesday. “For a first-year starter, he ended up with four interceptions, so there is some good play in there as well as the ability to maybe get better. So, we really thought at the fifth-round that was a pretty easy selection.”

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Hopefully better than the last cb name allen.

  • Sam Clonch

    Like it says, there’s no where to go but up from there!

  • newguy68

    Going out on a limb in saying we finally got a gem on a late round DB pick

  • KiJana Haney

    I am now rooting on allen as hard as I am rooting for Bryant. If allen can become a quality player our secondary would be solidified for a long time

  • budabar

    I hope this doesn’t turn into the 1950’s comedy TV show ( the burns and Allen show )

  • WreckIess

    He only has one game of tape on draftbreakdown, but from watching it a few times this seems accurate. He doesn’t come off as a guy who won’t tackle, but he doesn’t come off a guy who just doesn’t know how to. There was one play where the receiver caught the ball in front of him and instead of wrapping up he tried to extend his arms and grab him. It just looked like a guy who wasn’t very familiar with tackling which you see with a lot of his technique also. He’s just not all that familiar with the way you execute some defensive concepts. Fixable, but there’s going to be a lot of teachable moments with him.

  • Doug McFee

    That’s a serious limb!

  • Consistent

    The guy looks like a basketball player! Lol I can’t wait to see him in camp

  • francesco

    That gives us all hope that maybe some day!?!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Cortez 2.0.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    It’s up to Lake to coach him up. Yikes, kiss of death right there.

  • barry foster

    I hope they give cam Sutton and B.allen the Artie burns treatment and let them both chase AB around all camp

  • newguy68

    We’re due for someone to break the curse

  • gdeuce

    Burns and Davis progressed nicely through the season last year

  • Joseph Shaw

    Now I want this.

  • JohnB

    This is my underdog pick. I hope he makes it.

  • Matt Manzo

    Any chance he becomes our TE killer? Or is he strictly outside?

  • Evil Todd

    So, isn’t saying “there’s nowhere to go but up” just another way of saying “it’s as low as it gets?”

  • Piratte fan 4 life

    think that would be best way to learn esp for Allen- thinks brown will also coach him if he is covering Brown in camp speed up his learning curve

  • SilverSteel

    Only technically though…:-)

  • SilverSteel

    I still think that really helped Burns…

  • SilverSteel

    It’s easy to dream big before they hit the field!! I like both of our picks. Watch the SD compilation on Sutton put out today. He looks like a baller.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Matt –

    This is exactly what I have been suggesting from the moment he was drafted. Allen’ skill set is actually much better suited for covering guys like Tyler Eifert than guys like Danny Amendola.

    Every time the Patriots get in the red zone, they split Gronk out wide, one on one, usually with a safety, and they chuck one up for grabs (jump ball or quick slant or corner fade). Unless you double team him (which we rarely do) you need a guy who’s 6’3″ tall with 34″ arms and a 38″ vert who has good ball skills to combat that ball in the air. And I believe Allen is a great candidate for that job.

  • siouxcitysmitty

    Or, like saying “he can’t get any worse”

  • Dave

    I agree that he really could be the gem, but how fast he learns is the issue. This guy won’t last on the practice squad very long and will be snatched away. Sure hope he can learn special teams quickly!

  • Alan Tman

    I know one thing about Burns, Davis, and Allen, they all have awesome ball skills. I think are the best defensive backfield’s ball skills since the early 90’s (Woodson, Lake, and Perry). If the pass rush gets better, look out!!!

  • Matt Manzo

    Sounds like just needs to get a bit more physical!

  • Brenton deed

    What if these two AND golson turn up this year and show promise? It is possible?

  • Larry Iuluis

    Saying there’s no where to go but up, also means he is currently as low as you can go. That doesn’t sound promising to me.

  • Larry Iuluis


  • Steel City Slim

    With his size I’m surprised they don’t move him to safety. He’s about the same size as Melifonwu.

  • John

    Yes. Practical question is how does he make the team? If he is really raw, we start talking practice squad and the uncertainty there. Then we worry about losing him. Not sure where it all ends up. Let’s hope for the best.

  • Conserv_58

    For the Steelers to draft him they apparently see enough promise and potential in him to think that he is worth the time and effort into teaching him the nuances of playing CB in the NFL. He must have impressed them enough with his limited experience and desire for them to want to take this underdeveloped ball of clay and mold him into what they think he is capable of becoming.

  • newguy68

    Another team will snag him if he is placed on the practice squad. I see Burns, Cockrell, Golson, Sutton and Allen as our corners. Maybe Sensabaugh too