Last week, Danny Smith said Pressley Harvin III was a better player than how he had punted through the first month of his NFL career. Smith’s words were proven true based off Harvin’s performance Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Called onto punt just twice, Harvin recorded boots of 56 and 63 yards, an average of 59.5 yards, showing off the big leg that got him drafted. Talking with reporters after the game, teammate Chris Boswell took notice of the big-time performance.
“He smashed the ball,” Boswell told Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews postgame. “As you know, that’s why he got drafted. That’s why he beat out the longtime vet in [Jordan Berry]. I love Jordan and I wish him the best. They had a hell of a competition all camp and it just came down to who they wanted to go to. It was a flip of the coin because they both punted incredible all camp and that’s why Jordan got another shot.”
Harvin was drafted in part for a big leg that helped him become college football’s Ray Guy Award winner for the NCAA’s best punter. He showed off that leg in camp, edging out Berry (since signing with Minnesota), but struggled over the first month of the season, averaging under 42 yards per attempt. His average and net were no better than 22nd in the league and the Steelers weren’t winning the field position battle, an additional problem on top of a struggling offense.
That changed against the Broncos. Not only did he record two great punts from a pure average standpoint, the nets were good too. His 56-yard punt netted 43 yards while his 63-yarder netted 50, an elite type of number and credit to the coverage unit.
But it starts with Harvin. And Boswell knows it.
“Pressley murdered the ball today and had really good spirals 60 plus yards every time. He’s grown and we got to get him up.”
Sunday’s punts boosts his seasonal average nearly two whole yards to 43.7 while his net increased about a half-yard and now sits at over 40 yards per attempt. Consistency for punters is key so Harvin will need to build upon what he did in Week 5, beginning with the first primetime game of his NFL career Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.