Now that the regular season 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 have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season 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 reasoning. 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. Because of this, we can and will 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 rookie punter has put together a couple of strong games following a step backward as he continues to look for consistency in his game.
Jordan Berry is averaging 48.4 yards per punt through six games with the Minnesota Vikings right now, with a 42.8-yard net. I just thought I’d mention the fact that the Steelers’ former longtime punter is having a career year in his first season with another team after losing a training camp battle to the shiny new rookie draft pick.
But Pittsburgh isn’t doing poorly either with their decision in going with Pressley Harvin III, the seventh-rounder out of Georgia Tech. Out of 25 punts, 10 of them have gone 50-plus yards already, showing that he does have the power in his leg that he was drafted for.
He’s also had some notable shanks, but is still averaging 44.9 gross yards per punt—slightly better than Berry’s career average—and 41.6 net yards, which is right about in the middle of the pack. Berry never hit 41.0 net yards per punt over a full season in his six seasons with the Steelers, even if he is at nearly 43 yards right now.
But this is about Harvin, of course, who is looking to be on an upward trajectory. He has averaged over 50 gross yards per punt over the past two weeks following a rough game the week before in which he averaged just 34 yards. Against the Seahawks, he punted seven times, averaging 48 yards, averaging 45 net yards per punt.
That, of course, is what the Steelers need to see more of out of him on a regular basis going forward. As a rookie, he’s still almost undoubtedly going to have those frustrating occasional shanks, however. A lot of punters take years to develop a high level of consistency, and I doubt Harvin is going to be any different. But he can be a good one.