Now that the 2020 training camp has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: P Jordan Berry
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: After spending the past five seasons with the Steelers, the team opted to go a different way at the punter position this year, agreeing to terms with veteran Dustin Colquitt days after the initial 53-man roster had been finalized.
Jordan Berry is the closest thing the Steelers have had to stability in some time, prior to Daniel Sepulveda’s string of knee injuries that ended his career, at the punting position. Between Jeremy Kapinos, Mat McBriar, Drew Butler, Zoltan Mesko, and Brad Wing, a lot of names have come and gone in between—that is until Berry beat out Wing in 2015, or at least performed well enough that the Steelers were willing to trade Wing for a seventh-round pick.
Since then, he has averaged 44.2 gross yards per punt and 39.9 net yards per punt. His 40.9 net yards per punt in 2019 was both a career-high and a franchise record—however, by today’s standards, such a performance is middling.
That net average ranked 21st in the NFL last season among starting punters, so the best that the team has ever seen in its history is still below par as far as today’s standards are concerned. That doesn’t mean, however, that they will have found improvement in his replacement. Colquitt ranked 23rd in net average last year.
The 2019 season was a particularly good one, however. 40.9 net yards in 2018 would have placed Berry 13th in the league, for example. That would still be middling, of course, but that has been the trend. It would have even been (at the bottom of the) top 10 in 2016, Wing actually landing there.
Fans have been wanting to move on from Berry for at least a couple of years now, though, and now they’ve gotten their wish. But Colquitt, now 38 years old, is obviously not a long-term answer, and may only be here for the 2020 season.
Could we see the Steelers draft another punter? They drafted Sepulveda in the fourth round in 2007. They actually drafted Craig Colquitt, Dustin’s father, in the third round back in 1978, going on to win two Super Bowls with the team.