The Pittsburgh Steelers managed to have an even-handed draft this year, even with an odd number of picks, dividing their selections between four offensive players, four defensive players, and a specialist. Punter Pressley Harvin III was their ninth and final selection, coming near the end of the draft, and will challenge Jordan Berry.
Berry has been the team’s primary punter for the past six seasons, minus a brief stint last year when he was replaced by Dustin Colquitt. Corliss Waitman spent all of last season with the team as well on the practice squad, though didn’t get an opportunity. General manager Kevin Colbert spoke to the punting position yesterday with Stan Savran on ESPN Radio.
“Jordan is our punter, but competition is always good at that position,” he said of the addition of Harvin, with Waitman being released yesterday. “Corliss was here with us last year. The availability of no preseason really hurt some guys, especially those specialists, because their first punt in an NFL game would’ve been in a live session where you haven’t gotten to see him do it in a preseason world. It was really unfair to a lot of people like Corliss, and again, he was here for a reason, and he gave us left-footed looks.”
Harvin is a big boy. The Georgia Tech product weighs 255 pounds, according to the team’s roster, which is more than anyone on the roster that isn’t a lineman or a tight end. And that was one of the things that intrigued them about him and coaxed them to making him their first punter drafted since 2007.
“Pressley has got a naturally powerful leg,” Colbert said. “When he is technically sound on his steps and drops and hit, it’ll go far, it’ll go far, it’ll go long. Even if he misses in one of those areas, the ball still travels far, so he’s a naturally powerful guy.”
Even though he was drafted, he is obviously not going to be guaranteed the job, however. A few years ago, the Steelers used a sixth-round pick on long snapper Colin Holba, after their long-time snapper, Greg Warren, retired. They brought in Kameron Canaday to compete for the job, and the latter won. He’s still here, though Holba has bounced around the league.
Berry first won the punting job during the preseason in 2015. Now he will have to fend off Harvin, who should prove to be his biggest challenge in more ways than one.