2022 Pre-Draft Movements – Specialist

We started this series with a little over two weeks remaining to the draft, knowing that nearly all of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ pertinent personnel decisions will have already been made by then. Over the course of the series, we will be reviewing the team’s roster turnover position by position in an effort to help us project what their plans will be for the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Steelers did not have as many starters as last year hit free agency, but as of yet, they have only re-signed one of note, Chukwuma Okorafor. JuJu Smith-Schuster has already signed elsewhere, but others such as Trai Turner, Joe Haden, and Terrell Edmunds remain unsigned.

They were substantially active in free agency, however, re-signing Ahkello Witherspoon, Arthur Maulet, Miles Killebrew, Montravius Adams, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen, and J.C. Hassenauer. They also signed linemen James Daniels and Mason Cole in outside free agency, as well as quarterback Mitch Trubisky, cornerback Levi Wallace, wide receiver/returner Gunner Olszewski, linebacker Myles Jack, and outside linebacker Genard Avery.

The team did not have to make drastic moves in order to get into cap compliance, but they did release two high-salaried players in linebacker Joe Schobert and tackle Zach Banner. As of now, they have not restructured any contracts, though restructuring T.J. Watt later this offseason is likely.

Position: Specialist

Total Positional Figure: 6

Offseason Additions: 0

Offseason Deletions: 0

Players Retained:

K Chris Boswell: Coming off of yet another strong season, the only question that there is for Boswell this offseason is whether or not he signs a contract extension…and possibly if he will have the same holder and/or long snapper as last season. But he already showed in 2021 that he is capable of working through change.

P Pressley Harvin III: The Steelers are really hoping for a significant improvement from Harvin in year two after spending a seventh-round pick on the big-legged punter in 2021. While he certainly has some talent, his wild inconsistency will keep his job in peril until he either improves that aspect of his game or the Steelers get tired of waiting for him to do just that.

LS Christian Kuntz: Beating out Kameron Canaday for the long snapper job last year, Kuntz had a quiet season overall, which is what you want from a long snapper. As a player with a defensive background, though, you might expect him to be more of a factor in coverage.

K Sam Sloman: The Steelers originally signed the second-year kicker in early July, cutting him in the middle of training camp. He was signed to the practice squad in late November, but terminated two weeks later. He continued to bounce on and off the practice squad, and was signed to a futures deal at the end of the year.

Cameron Nizialek: Signed on Christmas Day to the Steelers’ practice squad, the day Harvin’s father passed away, and he spent some time away from the team. Corliss Waitman was signed to the 53-man roster. Nizialek was released two weeks later, but signed to a futures deal in late January. He punted for the Falcons for four games last season, and did kickoffs as well.

Rex Sunahara: The long snapper spent two days on the practice squad in early December, and was never brought back before the end of the season. Yet they signed him to a futures deal the same time they did with the remainder of the practice squad players they were interested in retaining at the end of the year.

Players Added: N/A

Players Deleted: N/A

Notes And Draft Outlook:

It is unusual for the Steelers to have multiple specialists at every position this early in the offseason. Sometimes they don’t even ever have a second player at every position. They’ve certainly gone into camps with only one kicker or only one long snapper before.

It’s pretty safe to assume that they will not be drafting anybody at kicker, punter, or long snapper. That will not preclude them from inviting anybody to rookie minicamp, however. Sloman is not eligible because he has an accrued season, so they will have to invite a kicker, at least. Nizialek is also a second-year player.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!