Now that training camp has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. 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. 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 season as we move forward.
Player: P Pressley Harvin III
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers’ seventh-round punter has so far performed to the standards expected of him when he was drafted, improving his consistency from his college career and showing well both on the practice field and, so far, in-stadium.
It’s rare that a team spends a draft pick on a specialist—it usually only happens two or three times in any given draft—so when it does happen, you generally expect that player to make the team. While it doesn’t always happen, the early results from the Steelers’ latest drafted specialist, punter Pressley Harvin III, are indicating that is likely.
The seventh-round pick is in a roster battle against Jordan Berry, the incumbent who has been the Steelers’ primary punter since 2015. He edged out incumbent Brad Wing that year, or at least was close enough in performance that they were willing to take a seventh-round pick for Wing when it was offered.
Berry’s position with the team, however, has been in question, and he was already released last year, before a sluggish showing from veteran Dustin Colquitt forced the team to bring him back last year. According to our own training camp reports from Alex Kozora, the veteran is performing well, but will it be enough to hold off the more talented draft pick?
Harvin is a big-everythinged man, including his leg, and he’s shown the ability to push the ball down the field during practices while getting hangtime as well. Consistency is still a work in progress, but improving.
He got the entirety of the Hall of Fame game to punt, and he posted good results on all four of his attempts, landing his first three inside of the 20, while the fourth was muffed for a fumble that the punting team was able to recover. As long as things continue to develop in this direction, then you are looking at your new punter, for perhaps quite a while.