There isn’t much else to do while we sit here and wait for news about whether or not there will even be training camp, so it seems as good a time as any to bring back this series, in which we look to introduce some of the new players that the Pittsburgh Steelers have added to the mix since the end of the 2019 season.
The team added some notable pieces in free agency, which was important, because they didn’t have much to work with in terms of draft capital due to previous trades. They also made liberal use of the XFL’s closure, signing about as many players from there as the rest of the league combined. Even while claiming that they didn’t have a lot of roster room, they still signed a good number of rookie college free agents as well, enough that they had to release three players just to make room for them.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers recently trimming its roster down to 80 players, from 90, the hardest-hit group has been the undrafted free agents. As of the time of this writing, six of the 10 players the Steelers signed as rookie free agents after the 2020 NFL Draft have already been terminated, and others may follow.
Corliss Waitman, the rookie punter that they signed after the draft, may soon join them, the last new rookie face that we have yet to talk about. Following the release of Christian Kuntz, Waitman is the only player the Steelers have on the roster currently to serve as competition to any of their specialists, as punter Jordan Berry enters his sixth season.
Waitman is, by now, already 25 years old. He began his college career redshirting at the University of Southern Alabama in 2014, before playing in two games the following year. Over a four-year period, he would register 158 punts for 6740 yards, averaging 42.7 yards per punt. He attempted to qualify for another year of eligibility transferring to Mississippi State last year, but was denied, and so did not play in 2019.
His best season came in 2017, during which he averaged 45.2 yards per punt in gross average on a career-high 70 punts. He also averaged 41.7 yards per punt during his senior season, which were the two best marks of his career.
The Steelers signed him on April 28 after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, having not played in 2019, so he has literally waited quite a while in order to play football again. Reporting to training camp was his first opportunity to get back out on the field with a team in over a year.
But he won’t have the chance to compete during the preseason. If he has any hope of unseating a five-year veteran, he will have to make every single punt he gets the best of his career. Because they won’t only be changing punters, but holders as well, and we saw what Chris Boswell went through in 2018.