FRISCO, Texas — The Pittsburgh Steelers have a punting problem, and it’s not that hard to figure it out. Pressley Harvin III has been inconsistent at best. Their loss against the Bills game cemented that it seems even more complicated to imagine them not changing here. Pittsburgh gave Harvin three legitimate seasons to prove what he could do on the football field, but time and time again, he has fallen short. A mere 38.5 punt average led Harvin to one of his most lackluster career showings. For a team that plays the field position game so strongly, having a subpar punter is a big deal, significantly when they invested a draft pick in Harvin.
So, could someone in the 2024 NFL Draft fit the mold? At the Shrine Bowl, BYU’s Ryan Rehkow could fit the bill. He was the FBS’ leader in net yards per punt throughout his time in Provo. And as he has held for four seasons, he has the complete makeup of someone the Steelers would really like to have.
“Well, I have been a holder for four years,” Rehkow said. “I’m learning here that teams really love that I have experience holding. It’s something most people probably don’t think about when you think of punters, but they care about it….for me, it’s all about working with your kicker on that chemistry. Some guys like the ball with some forward lean, some want it slid back a little bit. You just have to learn your kicker and what he likes.”
Even still, I’m not sure I would be finding the punter target the Steelers would want in Frisco, but Ryan Stonehouse was here just years ago, so I’m not against it. They shouldn’t be either. Rehkow is electric. When you are a live, you can hear an inherent sound when these guys are booting it. Rehkow has that special type of sound in his boot. The amount of English he can put on his rotations to get it to die inside the ten-yard line is one of the more impressive things I’ve seen from a punter prospect.
A level of consistency about it made you buy into it. Now, it was against air, and I still want to see him against a live rush. But if Rehkow hits these balls like he did on Saturday, the Steelers should be very interested in his services this offseason. He put on an absolute show.
People always talk about kicker as a mental position, but one shanked punt makes you question it as a punter, too. Every punter will shank a punt every now and then, but Rehkow’s process is sound.
“Everyone wants perfect, and I strive for it, but I know I can’t always be perfect,” Rehkow said. “You admit you did something wrong, and then you go back out there and get back to what you are doing. I trust my process and the work I put in each week, and that’s what you have to takeaway from it.”
As for the conditions, Pittsburgh will naturally give some punters trouble. Rehkow lived in Washington for high school and played in Utah. He has played in the rain, snow, and severe winds. If he ends up going to the Steelers, he feels extremely confident in his ability to be a weatherproof punter,
“I would much rather kick in rain or snow, but it’s the wind that’s hardest,” Rehkow said. “But as with anything, you have to perform in the worst of situations. Washington prepared me for it with snow games and a lot of wind on my kicks in high school. I’ve been in a lot of situations over the years, but you embrace the challenges.”
At any rate, Harvin is not cutting it as the team’s punter with his inconsistencies over the past three seasons. It seems like many things, and this is one of those coming to an end after the 2023 season for plenty of solid reasons. Rehkow is one of the potential solutions to that issue.