The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers have a new punter this year, and will he be drafted?
While the Steelers did re-sign Jordan Berry a bit earlier this offseason, it was made quite clear in September that they are seeking improvement in terms of personnel at the punter position. After ‘winning’ the punting job in training camp over rookie Corliss Waitman, Berry was released and the team signed veteran Dustin Colquitt instead.
The only reason that Berry remains a Steeler today is because Colquitt struggled during his time here, which ultimately resulted in his being released in a matter of weeks, prompting them to re-sign their former punter, who would finish out the season.
He is back under a one-year contract, but the movements of half a year ago make it clear that they don’t intend to hand him the job. Typically, the best way to challenge a player for the punter job is to draft one, and a small handful do get drafted in most years.
The Steelers haven’t used a draft pick on a punter or kicker since 2007, when they used a fourth-round pick on punter Daniel Sepulveda. Most go in the sixth and seventh rounds, however, and we have put in work this year in trying to evaluate the punters coming out of college this year. The majority of punters still go undrafted, it’s worth noting, but one has to think that they are going to want to give Berry a significant challenge this year.