Former Georgia Tech punter Pressley Harvin III would likely be a member of the Atlanta Falcons today, if the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t step up and utilize a draft pick to secure his services. In a brand-new feature by Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, the 2021 seventh-round pick revealed that as the end of the 2021 NFL Draft approached, he was “on the phone with the Falcons about a free agency deal.”
At the same time, a call came in from the 412 area code, putting Harvin in the uncomfortable position of having to disengage with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as quickly and politely as possible.
Harvin to Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith: ‘I Hate to Cut You Off…”
“I said, ‘Coach, I hate to cut you off, but I have to take this call,’” offered Harvin, relating the conversation to Varley.
As it turns out, Harvin couldn’t pick up before the Steelers hung up. Harvin “raced to call back,” as he puts it, and the voice he heard on the other end of the line ribbed him, saying, “I hope you weren’t on the phone making free agency deals.”
“I was like, ‘Coach, I am not going to lie to you, I am.’ He said, well you don’t have to worry about that. This is Mike Tomlin from the Steelers and we are going to pick you here.”
Indeed the Steelers did select Harvin with the No. 254 overall pick, making him the only punter taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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Pressley Harvin Hopes to ‘Break the Mold’
Harvin, 22, has an impressive college résumé. In 2020, he was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Ray Guy award as the nation’s top punter, setting new Georgia Tech and ACC punting records with a 49.0-yard average.
But he has attracted even more notice for his unusual physique, as he stands just six feet tall and is listed at 255 pounds, decidedly shorter and rounder than a typical NFL punter.
For frame of reference, the veteran he hopes to beat out for Pittsburgh’s punting job, Jordan Berry, stands 6-foot-5 and weighs just 195 pounds.
But if Harvin punts anything like he did during his last season at Georgia Tech, he figures to take over for Berry, who the Steelers re-signed to a one-year contract in late March. Last season Berry punted 57 times with an average of 45.8 yards per boot and a net average of 40.5 yards.
It doesn’t hurt that Harvin looks like he offers tremendous trick-play potential as well.
Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith has even joked that the team might take advantage of Harvin’s size by utilizing him in short-yardage situations.
That would probably be just fine by Harvin, who says he is quite comfortable with the idea of “breaking the mold” for what is expected from a punter.
“I definitely hope that I am doing that,” Harvin told Varley. “I have always been striving to make changes, not just for myself, but people behind me. It’s people that come after me, that looked up to me, that I am showing them the right way of doing things. I am changing things for the people behind me.”
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