With the 2017 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certain players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, have sent their stock rising, falling, or breaking even.
Player: K Chris Boswell
Stock Value: Up
It’s time to crank up the excitement volume, because we’re about to talk about specialists, in this case specifically, the kicker. It’s not every year that I get to talk about a placekicker in the context of being an ascending player, but that is what Chris Boswell is for the Steelers after less than two full seasons in the league.
Last season, Boswell connected on six field goals with no misses on two separate occasions. He did so first in the regular season and then in the postseason, the former a team record, the latter an NFL record. The feat was so impressive that the league ‘randomly’ drug tested him after the game.
Over the course of the regular season, the second-year kicker was only asked to attempt 25 field goals, which is surprising when you consider that he attempted six in just one game. He did miss one week due to an injury, but he only played in 12 games in 2015 and attempted 29.
Boswell only made 21 of 25 field goals during the regular season, but one of them was blocked, while two of the other missed came from 54 and 55 yards out. The fourth miss was from 42 yards out. And he went on to make all eight of his field goals in the postseason. He is 15-for-15 in his career to date in the postseason in five games.
Now, I suppose it should be mentioned that he did miss not one, but two extra points last year during the postseason, and that is after going 36-for-36 during the regular season. That would seem to me to be an anomaly that I’m not prepared to latch onto without further justification.
Thus far in his career, Boswell has had a touchback rate of around 63 percent, which is fair, though not excellent. It would be interesting to know what the Steelers’ strategy has been there, and how frequently they try not to get a touchback.
One thing that has been consistent about the young player is that he is known to have a calm demeanor that lends itself well to the pressure situations he has to face. That would seem to be corroborated by his postseason field goal success.