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: Jordan Berry
Stock Value: Up
I’m not going to act like I have a really compelling reason right now to say that Jordan Berry’s stock is going up beyond simply the fact that he is still a young player who is most likely going to continue to get better. A lot of great punters, as with all positions, had less than stellar starts to their career.
But the third-year man is already vastly ahead of the curve when it comes to the Steelers’ recent history. He was preceded by Brad Wing, who he de facto beat out in a punting competition in 2015 after the team traded Wing to the Giants. Before Wing was a slew of names including Drew Butler, Mat McBriar, Zoltan Mesko, and Jeremy Kapinos, just since Daniel Sepulveda’s career ended in 2011.
With the exception of Kapinos, who played in 12 games for the Steelers over two seasons stepping in during Sepulveda’s knee injuries in his final two seasons that resulted in his career ending, none of those punters made it beyond a full season. Some of them didn’t even last a full year. Only Butler and Wing managed to play in 16 total games.
So the fact that Berry has already played two full seasons is not to be dismissed in the context of their recent history, nor is the fact that they don’t even have another punter on the roster right now. Not even a camp leg. They don’t have an extra kicker, either, but they have two long snappers.
Berry did show improvement from his first season to his second season, and some of his key numbers did rank at least within the middle quadrant of his peers, so there is room to work with here. His directional kicking took a major step forward last year.
He has some things that he wants to continue to work on, and he has talked about that. He understands that he is still growing. He had a few very good games last year, though that didn’t always coincide with team success. He netted nearly 50 yards on three punts against the Eagles, for example.
Still, Berry’s value is projected to go up because he can still get better, and it’s reasonable to think that he will. He’ll have to adjust to a new long snapper in the process, though.