Coming out of Georgia Tech as a much-ballyhooed punter, rookie seventh-round draft pick Pressley Harvin III had seemingly made a seamless transition to the NFL.
One of the biggest question marks about PH3 entering his rookie season was consistency, and so far he’s been relatively consistent punting the football for the Steelers, recording averages of 45.8, 50.0, and 42.3 yards per punt against the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers in three preseason games.
Four of Harvin’s nine punts were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, showing just what a weapon the big punter can be. But it will always come down to consistency for Harvin, who said that the mental part of the game as a professional has been his biggest adjustment following Friday night’s preseason finale.
“I think the biggest thing is just the mentality,” Harvin said to reporters following Friday’s loss. “It’s just more of a mental game for specialists more than anything else because every time you get out there on that field you have to put that defense or that offense in a good position to be able to make plays. Field position is a really important part of this game. Danny Smith, our special teams coordinator, thrives on that. It just puts you in a place where you really have a good feeling, you can gain confidence from it, and just being able to have the guys be on your back and believing in you and your ability to get the job done.”
In college, Harvin had plenty to “distract” him, per say, from the mental side of being a specialist, such as going to class and being a true student-athlete. Now in the NFL, though, it’s football — specifically punting — all day, every day.
Adjusting to that and really thriving in that role has Harvin in the perceived driver’s seat for the Steelers’ starting punting job, where he looks to edge out incumbent punter Jordan Berry, whom the Steelers have already moved on from once.
With the right mentality, Harvin could become a true field-flipping weapon for the Steelers in 2021 and beyond.