2019 Pre-Training Camp Roster Review: Specialist

The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2019 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.

We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position since the build-up to the draft as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.

Position: Specialist

Total Positional Figure: 6

Additions: 3

Deletions: 1

Players Retained:

Chris Boswell: I don’t know that there have been many instances in which a kicker goes from being recognized as one of the best in one season (Pro Bowl in 2017) to one of the worst a year later (missing 12 kicks and having competition brought in mid-season to challenge for his job). That was Boswell’s past two years. The hope is that he can find some middle ground between those two and return to being a solid option for the team. He won games for them in 2017 and lost them the next. The difference between a bye week and no playoffs at all.

Jordan Berry: Berry has stuck around for a while now, which is significant given the carousel of punters they had since Daniel Sepulveda, but he regressed last season, and while a lot of talk has been about Boswell’s job being threatened, so is Berry’s. After all, he came in and overtook Brad Wing not so long ago.

Kameron Canaday: Successor of Greg Warren, slayer of Colin Holba, Kameron Canaday has been at it for a couple years now, and has generally been solid. I could certainly go for the rest of my life without ever seeing a long snapper called for a hold twice in one game again though.

Players Added:

Matthew Wright: A UCF product who wasn’t even high on the draft boards at the kicker position, Wright is going to be Boswell’s competition in Latrobe. He made 12 of his 14 field goal attempts as a senior, with one of the misses being blocked. He had two of his three missed extra point attempts blocked as well.

Ian Berryman: Unless someone else is brought in, the Steelers’ next punter will still have Berry in his last name regardless of what happens. Berryman did set the WCU record by averaging 43.6 yards per punt. He slumped a bit last year through injury.

Trevor Wood: More of a tight end than a long snapper, Wood isn’t likely to be much of a threat to Canaday. He’s a longshot to make the roster period, and if he does, he would be the emergency long snapper and the third-string tight end.

Players Deleted:

Matt McCrane: One of the kickers brought in last year to compete against Boswell, he was signed ahead of the finale after the latter was injured and made three kicks in that game, including the winner. The team determined that he doesn’t have a strong enough leg, however, so they released him ahead of rookie minicamp, carrying only Boswell and Wright.

Notes and Camp Outlook: 

Obviously, this will be one of the most contentious areas of the entire roster. Both kicker and punter jobs are on the line. Boswell stands to make $2 million in a roster bonus if he makes the team, so that is an element of this equation as well.

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