NFL Draft

Ranking The Top Punters Of The 2021 Draft

Punter Drue Chrisman

This probably isn’t the “draft class ranking” you were waiting with bated breath for. But after examining the top punters of the 2021 class, I wanted to put together a quick ranking of the four I watched. Here’s the list with where/if I’d draft them.

Linked with each player is the scouting report I wrote on them.

1. Drue Chrisman/Ohio State — Round 6-7
2. Pressley Harvin III/Georgia Tech — UDFA
3. Max Duffy/Kentucky — UDFA
4. James Smith/Cincinnati — UDFA

Here’s a table of the three key areas I studied with each player: Snap-to-Punt times, Hangtime, and Distance.

Punter Snap-to-Punt Hangtime Distance
Drue Chrisman 1.94 3.95 44.3
Pressley Harvin 1.85 4.00 43.0
Max Duffy 2.39/1.92* 3.73 43.2
James Smith 1.92 3.98 39.6


*Duffy has two times. 2.39 includes his rugby style punts, 1.92 included the limited non-rugby punts I observed, primarily at the Senior Bowl.

Ranking those numbers across the board, Harvin actually came out ahead. But watching the tape, there’s too much inconsistency in his game compared to Chrisman. So Chrisman came out in the top spot.

In a couple of words, here’s how I’d describe each player’s best and worst trait.

Drue Chrisman
Best Traits: Consistency, Holding
Worst Trait: Lacks Big Upside

Pressley Harvin III
Best Traits: Quickness, Flashes Elite Hangtime
Worst Trait: Consistency

Max Duffy
Best Trait: Inside 20 Punting
Worst Traits: Rugby Style Transition, Medical

James Smith
Best Traits: Quickness, Left-Footed
Worst Traits: Consistency, Poor Senior Bowl

Will the Steelers draft a punter? Possibly. Danny Smith attended at least two of their Pro Days — Harvin’s and Duffy’s. Harvin reportedly had a good workout despite punting in bad weather conditions. That article also revealed Harvin’s lost weight in the pre-draft process, slimming down from 283 to 263 pounds. Still an unusually heavy weight for the position.

Jordan Berry was re-signed, but it’s a minimum deal. And Corliss Waitman’s yet to appear in an NFL game. I don’t think either guy prevents the Steelers from drafting or signing a punter. If they did, Waitman probably gets released in a corresponding move.

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