With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Pressley Harvin III will bounce back and have a solid second season as the Steelers’ punter.
Explanation: Harvin had perhaps the most stressful and trying year of his life in 2021, in ways that had nothing to do with the massive transition to the NFL, and to a new home. He lost both his father and his grandmother during the year, and their battles with illness surely weighed heavily on his mind. Now with a year under his belt and the opportunity to begin to move on, he is set for a fresh start.
Harvin was probably pretty close to losing his job during his rookie season, even if the Steelers invested a draft pick in him. He just struggled so much, particularly in the second half of the year, where they must have seriously weighed moving in another direction—especially after Corliss Waitman filled in.
Waitman isn’t here now, though. And the trials of last year are behind him, too. He’s booming the ball so far during OTAs and minicamp. While special teams coordinator Danny Smith somewhat downplayed what his strong performance at this time of year means for the regular season, he knows he likes what he’s seeing. For Harvin, it was never about talent, but consistency.
And the odds of him finding that consistency this year don’t figure to be all that much greater than they were a year ago. After all, consistency issues peppered his college career, as well, in ways that were more noteworthy than the average draftable college punter.
There is a long road ahead of Harvin and Smith in finding the sort of NFL-quality consistency that the team needs from him. They spent years trying to get that out of Jordan Berry, and they abandoned ship on him in favor of the rookie draft pick last year, which proved to be a mistake.