The Pittsburgh Steelers, and especially their fan base, were extremely excited about the team’s 7th round pick when they selected Georgia Tech punter Pressley Harvin III. I know what you might be thinking, how can anyone be excited about a punter?
Harvin isn’t your typical punter. He weighs between 250-260 pounds, has thrown 40 yard touchdown passes and squatted over 600 pounds while at Georgia Tech. Harvin has become a player to watch entering training camp, but that doesn’t mean he is a finished product. During mandatory minicamp special teams coordinator Danny Smith spoke with the media about Harvin. When asked about his strong leg, Smith made it a point to make media, and by proxy the fan base, know punting isn’t just about a strong leg.
“A strong leg isn’t just the answer,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of strong legs out there that don’t make it in this league. I call it, ‘You gotta have game.’ You gotta be able to pooch punt. You gotta be able to put the ball out of bounds. You gotta have a good get-off time. You gotta hold (for place kicks), in most cases. There’s a lot of factors involved and those are the kinds of things we’re working on.
“But we are very excited about him and very excited about working with him. We’ll see how it all unfolds.”
The big question on most fans’ minds is will Harvin be able to push Jordan Berry out the door and solidify himself as the Steelers’ punter for the next several years? One aspect of punting which has kept Berry around is how he holds for placekicker Chris Boswell. Believe it or not, Harvin didn’t do a lot of holding in college, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of performing the task.
“They had a situation at Georgia Tech that they used two kickers,” Smith explained. “It was much like a pitcher and a catcher, one had a holder that he liked and the other one had a holder that he liked, so you could call it part-time holding. When his guy kicked, he held. When the other guy kicked, the other guy held.
“So yes, he has experience holding. Yes, he’s quite capable. Yes, he has a lot to learn to perfect it.”
Of course Smith was asked about the Steelers potentially using Harvin’s skill set for fake punts, but his response certainly caught everyone off guard.
“The best thing we can do with this guy is, you know about the quarterback sneak play? You’re gonna see a punt-sneak play with this big dude,” special teams coordinator Danny Smith insisted. “That’s the first thing we started working on.”
This may not have been intentional, but after last season’s failures in short yardage situations, Smith didn’t just drive the knife into the back of Randy Fichtner’s offense, but twisted it too.
“Maybe he can get a yard.” Smith said.
Nonetheless, while the fan base is excited to see what Harvin can bring to the Steelers special teams, Smith is reminding everyone he is far from a finished product. But can he win the job? It will be a camp battle to watch.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.