The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means that as of today that there is only 23 days left until the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe for training camp. Today we continue on with our look at the training camp roster battles for the Steelers by looking at the kicking position.
The Steelers currently have just two kickers on the roster in the form of Shaun Suisham and Danny Hrapmann, and by the looks of things right now that won\’t change from now until training camp begins. Let\’s now have a look at both.
Shaun Suisham – Suisham was given a four-year deal prior to the start of the 2011 season and proceeded to go 23-of-31 in field goal attempts in the regular season for a 74.2 percentage. 2 of his 8 misses came inside 39 yards and it included a blocked 30-yard attempt against the Houston Texans in week 4 that would have resulted in a touchdown had the Texans not been penalized for an illegal block in the back during the return. Suisham also was 7-of-12 from 40-49 yards and 1-of-2 from 50 plus yards out. To his credit he was perfect on all of his extra point attempts last season. Of his 72 kickoffs last season Suisham averaged a distance of 66.5 yards and had just 28 touchbacks. The deal the Steelers gave Suisham means absolutely nothing at this point as he can be released at any time prior to the start of the regular season and it would result in just a $337,500 dead money hit in 2012 and a $675,000 dead money hit in 2013. Unless better competition is signed between now and the start of training camp to challenge him, he is the favorite to be the Steelers kicker once again this season.
Danny Hrapmann – The Steelers initially signed Missouri kicker Grant Ressel as an undrafted free agent following the draft, but released him right after the rookie camp. Hrapmann, a 2010 Lou Groza Award finalist out of Southern Miss, was signed to replace Ressel after beating out veteran Dave Rayner and former East Carolina kicker Michael Barber in an early May try-out. In his career at USM, Hrapmann made 130-of-132 extra points and connected on 53-of-71 field goals for a 74.6 percentage.
Is this really a wide open kicker battle? I guess anything can happen, but Suisham would have to tank and Hrapmann would have to make every kick opportunity he gets in the preseason and excel on kickoffs. Several teams carry two place kickers in training camp, so if neither Suisham nor Hrapmann prove to be reliable, the Steelers very well could wind up watching the waiver wire for another option. Former Steelers kicker Jeff Reed is currently still a free agent as well and is hoping for one last shot. Reed says he has stayed in contact with General Manager Kevin Colbert this off-season, but nothing seems imminent on that front. One thing is for certain with the kicker situation this season and that is another sub 80% year can\’t be tolerated from a kicker.
Previous Training Camp Roster Battle Post
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Defensive Ends
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Wide Receivers
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Tight Ends
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Cornerbacks
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Safeties
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Running Backs
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Roster Battles: Nose Tackles