When it comes to special teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers were certainly far from special last season. Their kicking game and punting game—as well as both kick and punt return units—ranked toward the bottom of the league. Both Chris Boswell and Jordan Berry performed below the line, but both are under contract—Berry being re-signed this offseason—gearing up for 2019.
Boswell in particular tanked, missing seven of his 20 field goal attempts in addition to another five extra point attempts for a total of 12 missed kicks. This was coming off a season in which he made the Pro Bowl, kicking five game-winners and four 50-yarders.
Despite this, Bob Labriola doesn’t think the Steelers are going to, or should, draft a kicker, as I have previously suggested they could. In fact, he indicated that he thinks it’s more likely that they would draft a punter over a kicker if they had an ‘extra’ pick available to them toward the end of the draft. That is what he said in response to an Asked and Answered question yesterday.
When asked if he thought the Steelers would address the kicking game in the draft, he called it “unlikely”, citing the fact that they also have Matt McCrane under contract, who made all three of his field goal attempts in the season finale, including the game-winner.
“If the Steelers end up using all of their 10 picks in this draft, it’s possible they could spend one on a punter, but I would guess they might bring in competition for Jordan Berry by signing someone who already has been in an NFL training camp”, he added.
Personally, I’m not sure I agree with Labriola’s assessment, as for one thing, the front office has already previously left the door open for the team to add another kicker to the competition. I believe it was Art Rooney II himself who indicated that it was a realistic possibility.
After all, McCrane is the type of kicker you bring in for a mid-season tryout—they are the type of kickers who are going to be available. If they have an offseason to plan, it’s most likely that they would add a more significant name, so I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they draft one. But they could also just sign the best kicker they can as a college free agent.
As for the punter position, Berry didn’t have the horrible meltdown type of season that Boswell did, but he has also never been firmly established in his position. That’s why Boswell was signed to a long-term contract last offseason and Boswell was given a one-year deal equivalent to the restricted tender.