The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason, which unfortunately marks the sixth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-8 and nearly making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Haden to most of their wide receiver room, not to mention Stephon Tuitt’s decision to retire.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2022 season.
Player: Pressley Harvin III
Experience: 2 Years
Pressley Harvin III came into the 2022 season facing a lot of pressure. A 2021 seventh-round draft pick, he had a rough rookie year that saw him rank at or near the bottom in many key punting statistics. His personal life was trying, with both his father and his grandmother passing away after long battles with illness, and that surely had some effect on his performance.
Be that as it may, it’s all about what you’ve done for me lately. To his credit, he did improve in 2022, particularly in the area of consistency. He improved his net average, for example, from 38.1 to 41.1. Of course, 41.1 used to be an impressive number—10 to 20 years ago. It ranked tied for 19th last season. He also had one of the lower gross yards per attempt in the league, though that’s also driven by how the Steelers ask their punters to punt.
His five touchbacks were on the high side, something that needs to be improved upon, but he also had among the highest percentages of punts that were not returned, either due to being downed by the coverage or by going out of bounds (e.g., directional kicking). His 34.8 percent return rate was among the lowest in the league, and 10 percent lower than the man we’ll discuss below.
Steelers fans recently got a tease when the Denver Broncos opted to rescind a tender offer for former punter Corliss Waitman, who performed admirably for Pittsburgh at the end of the 2021 season. That put him back on the open market, but he quickly signed with the New England Patriots, which is where he was, on the practice squad, when the Steelers signed him two years ago to punt in Harvin’s place.
That doesn’t mean they won’t bring in anybody else between now and the start of training camp. In fact, I would expect it, likely in the form of a rookie college free agent. At the least, they would add one as a rookie minicamp tryout option, and if he does well enough, he’ll find a spot on the 90-man roster.