As we close down the 2021 NFL Draft, we are taking a look at some selected players SteelerNation may have not heard about going into the draft. First up…
Pressley Harvin III (Punter), Georgia Tech, Senior
SELECTED: 7th Round, 254th overall
This may have come as a shock to many Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but let’s be honest- the punting game in Pittsburgh has been lackluster. After he was replaced by Dustin Colquitt at the beginning of the 2020 season, Jordan Berry returned to the Steelers and averaged only 45.77 yards per punt (16th in the NFL) with a season long of 62 yards (tied for 19th in the NFL). I’m not saying Berry is a bad punter, but clearly this is a blemish on an overall well-rounded team. With a top ranked defense returning in 2021 and field position critical in closing out victories, punters play a major role in closing competitive games. It is no wonder the Steelers used their final draft pick to select Pressley Harvin III out of Georgia Tech.
Harvin III was one of the most decorated players in 2020 in the NCAA. First, he won the Ray Guy award (this is the award given to the top punter in all of college football). Further, Harvin III was the first African-American to win the award in its entire history. In addition, he was a unanimous first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC player in 2020. Per the database at ESPN, he led the ACC in average punt yardage (48 yards) and posted a career long 70-yard punt in the 2020 season. To help give us more of a perspective of how effective Harvin III is, per the Georgia Tech Athletic Department database, just under 50% of his punts traveled 50 yards or more, 47% were fair caught, 40% were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, and less than 20% of his punts were returned. Harvin III also possess a quick release and is an effective directional punter.
Although Harvin III has a strong leg, one inconsistency is his shorter yardage kicks. Although 40% of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, a fair amount of his shorter yardage punts landed as touchbacks. In addition, hang time is also a continuous craft for Harvin III, let alone most NFL punters. This is able to be coached and tweaked with improved technique, but it is something Danny Smith is going to be paying close attention to as we head into rookie minicamp and training camp.
The Steelers’ punting game needs a major lift, and I think they found that in Harvin III. Seeing him drafted came as no surprise, as analysts projected him going in the 6th to 7th rounds. Harvin III is going to bring a giant, 260-pound spark to the Steelers’ special teams unit, and I cannot wait to get his jersey before September.
How do you think the Steelers did at the 254th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comments below!