The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 NFL Draft class has been a tremendous group for a lot of reasons. Not only do they have several starters among them, but they even hit with two seventh round picks in Tre Norwood and Pressley Harvin III.
Harvin, the Georgia Tech product, came into training camp knowing he would have to unseat veteran Jordan Berry to earn a roster spot. Whether it was because he was drafted, or outperformed Berry is up for debate, but Berry was released and signed by the Minnesota Vikings while Harvin has been the Steelers’ punter since Day 1.
It hasn’t been a breeze for the rookie, and his inconsistencies have been on display, similar to that of Berry during his time in Pittsburgh. For every punt Harvin booms over 50 yards, he adds a mishit which often sails just over 30. The ups and downs of the rookie punter have some fans concerned about the status of the position moving forward.
During his Tuesday press conference Mike Tomlin was asked about his thoughts on Harvin’s play throughout the team’s first eight games of the regular season, and Tomlin made it clear he is pleased with what he’s seen so far.
“Largely, I’ve been pleased with his performance.” Tomlin said. “And I say that because initially your knee jerk reaction is to think about his performance as a punter, but he’s also a holder. And this guy’s been in some really big moments for a young guy from a holding perspective on some 50-plus-yard kicks and game winners and so forth, and our operation there has been flawless. Bos has a great deal of confidence in the snap hold and kick component of what it is that we do, and he’s to be acknowledged for that.”
It should be noted how in college Harvin wasn’t the every game holder for Georgia Tech. He and another punter would split time based on who was the kicker that game. Taking that into consideration, Harvin’s role as the holder as been above the line, as Tomlin would say.
As for Harvin’s punting, it has left a lot to be desired, and Tomlin knows it.
“In terms of punting, he needs to be a little bit more consistent.” Tomlin added. “He doesn’t have an opportunity to warm up to it from time to time. That’s just a lesson that needs to be learned, and we’re doing some things from a practice standpoint to aid him in that. But largely, I’ve just been pleased with the overall trajectory of his play and in the direction it’s headed.”
There have been several fans who have already been wondering if the Steelers should have kept Berry and cut Harvin. The thought process is expected and understandable, so I thought it fitting to put the two players’ stats to show how they’ve done so far. Before being critical of any numbers below, remember a punter’s job changes based on where they are kicking from. In other words, Harvin’s average might be lower, but Berry might have more opportunities for those big kicks, and less of those kicks trying to pin opponents inside the 10-yard line.
Pressley Harvin Stats:
Long: 63 yards
Jordan Berry Stats:
Long: 63 yards
Say what you want about Harvin, but he is a rookie. Fans will be quick to excuse some rookies like Najee Harris or Kendrick Green for rookie mistakes, and the same should be given to Harvin if he doesn’t play his best game every week.
With that said, the hope is Harvin eliminates some of those shanks he has displayed throughout the season. The name of the game, as Tomlin alluded, is about consistency. If Harvin can find his groove he will be a big part of the team’s success moving forward by flipping the field and pinning opponents deep in their own end.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field in Week 10.