Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 Breakout Player Projections

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December 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen (28) reacts as he takes the field against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers just missed the playoffs in 2012 and have their sights set on an AFC North title in 2013 with a revamped defense and a lot of new faces on offense.

Mike Tomlin and company have put together an impressive young roster, and despite the departures of some of the team’s more notable players like James Harrison and Mike Wallace, the Steelers should be right back in contention for the AFC North in 2013.

With the changes both offensively and defensively, the Steelers are going to need some players to have breakout seasons in 2013. Here is a player from each of the last three draft classes that could become a household name in the Steel City before too long.

Third Year — Cortez Allen, CB

The Steelers’ coaching staff is really high on Allen, who is taking over for the departed Keenan Lewis opposite Ike Taylor at cornerback. He will kick inside to play nickel corner in those situations, but otherwise, the former fourth round pick seems to have a lot of upside in this Pittsburgh defense.

He has great size at 6’1″ 196 pounds, and after just 14 tackles in his 2011 rookie season, Allen had a really nice 2012 campaign with 55 tackles, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles. He also had 10 passes defensed, and should be one of the top playmakers in the Steeler secondary.

This is always a well-coached unit, and Allen is a young player out of The Citadel with a ton of upside. He might finally reach some of his full potential with a much bigger role in 2013.

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