Georgia Tech’s Pressley Harvin hoping to land an NFL job

Here’s the seventh story of our position-by-position NFL draft series. Today, we’ll look at the special-teams players.

Georgia Tech punter Pressley Harvin won the Ray Guy Award as the top punter in college football last season.

He now hopes to be the first punter called during the NFL draft, which is set for April 29-May 1.

Only two punters and three kickers were selected in the NFL draft last season.

Texas A&M’s Braden Mann was the first punter selected. He was picked in the sixth round, 191st overall. The Falcons selected punter Sterling Hofrichter, out of Syracuse, in the seventh round, 228th overall.

New England took Marshall kicker Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round (159th overall), the Bills picked Georgia Southern’s Tyler Bass in the sixth (188th overall) and the Rams took Miami of Ohio’s Sam Sloman in the seventh (248th overall).

Harvin knows it’s going to be tough landing a spot on a NFL roster.

“Yeah, the mindset is my parents always told me an opportunity is only an opportunity unless you (make the most of) it,” Harvin said. “No matter what the opportunity looks like, drafted or free agency, I just want one team to believe in me enough to put me in position to where I can execute on the field for them.”

If Harvin doesn’t get drafted, he hopes to sign as a free agent. Former Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship wasn’t drafted last season and signed with the Colts.

Blankenship and punter Tommy Townsend, who also wasn’t drafted, made the Pro Football Writers of America’s all-rookie team in 2020.

“That’s just really the mindset of how can I get to a team?” Harvin said. “How can I stick with that team? How can I get them to buy into me? How can I buy into their process?”

Harvin has been working on his craft. NFL teams know that he can boom the ball. They had him working on the finer points of ball placement during his Pro Day.

He had to kick from the left hash mark, the middle of the field and the right hash mark. While kicking from different spots on the field, he had to place the ball outside the numbers to right or left.

“I’ve been training the same way this whole time,” Harvin said.

NFL scouts even had Harvin throw a few passes. They wanted to find out if can run a fake punt.

“That’s another attribute I can bring to the table,” Harvin said of his passing. “I’ve always been humble with it because I’ve never been a guy to be a cocky guy about it.”

He tossed some tight spirals.

“But just being able to be versatile at punter is a thing that a lot of teams don’t have,” Harvin said. “I’m thankful to be able to do it here at Georgia Tech these last four years.”

He tossed a touchdown pass against Miami in 2019.

“That’s one of the remarkable things that you know, I can do,” Harvin said.

Falcons special-teams coach Marquice Williams helped direct Harvin’s Pro Day. Hofrichter did not have a strong rookie season and the team has signed competition in Dom Maggio. Coach Arthur Smith also was on hand at Tech.

Harvin, who was listed at 6-foot and 255 pounds at Tech, dropped 20 pounds during the pre-draft process

“It’s been a grind,” Harvin said. “I’ve also been able to have a meal prep service provided to me and being able to stick to that, get my body to eat a little more clean, being able to eat on a more strict schedule, stuff like that to boost metabolism level.”

Harvin also did some weight lifting, running and kicking workouts to lower his weight.

“So to be honest, I’ve always been a bigger guy, but I’ve always kind of fluctuated through weight here and there,” Harvin said. “The weight I’m at today, I feel a lot more comfortable with.”

He also has to adjust to punting with a different ball.

“The NFL ball is definitely a lot different than the ball we punt here at Georgia Tech,” Pressley said. “The Adidas ball is a little bit different, so I would hold the ball a little more inside, instead of straight up and down, it would be more at an angle, probably about 11:30 on a clock, if you looked at it like that way. ... The biggest thing was the drop because I brought the ball a lot more in straight with the nose down.”

Harvin has a draftable grade by analyst Lance Zierlein.

“Wide-body punter with extra quick operation time,” Zierlein wrote in his review of Harvin. “Harvin was a heralded punter out of high school and seemed to improve throughout his time at Georgia Tech. His quick get-off might need to be slowed to help out his coverage team, though. He has an NFL leg and is consistent as a directional punter, which gives him a shot to be drafted.”


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OFFENSIVE GUARDS/CENTERS: The men in the middle | Top 10 C/OGs

Falcons’ 2021 draft position: Here are the top 10 picks in D. Led’s Mock Draft 4.0:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, (QB, BYU)

3. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)

4. Atlanta Falcons: Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)

6. Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)

7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)

8. Carolina Panthers: Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)

9. Denver Broncos: Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)

10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain (CB, Alabama)

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