With the 2015 NFL Draft and rookie minicamp now in the rearview mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers 90-man offseason roster is getting pretty close to set, although there are always some late movements to balance out positional numbers or replace injured or underperforming players.
Now that the rookie class in in-house and the tryout players have either come and gone or stuck around, it’s time to take one last look at the Steelers’ roster as we head into the meat of the offseason. We conclude our look at the way the offseason roster shapes up post-draft with the always exciting and intriguing specialists: kickers, punters, and long snappers, oh my.
Greg Warren: You know it’s been a while when your long snapper is one of a group of just four players remaining from a past team of note. For the Steelers, that is the ‘two-ring’ group: the players who were with the team during their two Super Bowl-winning seasons of 2005 and 2008.
Warren, 33, was a rookie that year, but he’s been here every year since, only missing games in the 2008 and 2009 seasons due to a pair of knee injuries. He has not missed a game in the last five seasons. And there’s a reason they keep bringing him back without paying much mind to seeking his successor: he’s good at what he does. When considering such a specialized skill set, you don’t want to move away from a guy until you have to.
Shaun Suisham: Like Warren, Suisham is also an 11th-year veteran at the age of 33. Unlike Warren, it took the better part of his career to find consistency, both in terms of performance and in job stability. After splitting time between two teams during the 2009 season, Suisham was out of football until the Steelers released Jeff Reed in the middle of the 2010 season.
Suisham was signed to take his place and made 14 of his 15 field goal attempts in the final seven regular season games. He had a down year the following year, making just under 75 percent of his kicks, which included one that was blocked. But over the past three years, he has posted an accuracy percentage above 90 and holds the team record for the highest career accuracy with the club. Suisham was given a three-year extension prior to the 2014 season.
Brad Wing: Wing’s job is by far the most open for competition, for obvious reasons. He ranked toward the bottom of the league in terms of punting average, and near the middle of the pack in terms of net average thanks to his gunners. He won the job by default last year without competition, but that won’t be the case this time.
Jordan Berry: That competition will be Berry, a first-year player much in the same position Wing was in a year ago. An Aussie like Wing, Berry beat out Richie Leone to be the second camp leg during rookie minicamp.
Notes: Warren and Suisham make up a solid pairing. Warren, however, is operating under one-year contracts. Suisham is tied down for a few more years. Do the Steelers have a potential long-term option at punter in camp right now? Time will tell, but history does not favor an affirmative answer.