As the Pittsburgh Steelers move toward training camp, there is one battle position battle that may fly under the radar for many fans, punter. The Steelers have two players in camp and as of now the only thing, separating them is game experience.Jeremy Kapinos, returns and will sit atop the depth chart. The exclusive rights free agent has been solid in his short stints with the team, but is by no means a lock for the opening day roster. For his career, the former undrafted rookie free agent from Penn State, has been in and out of the league since 2007 when he signed with the New York Jets. In all he has played with four NFL teams kicking 136 punts, for a 43.2-yard average (37.5 net).
During training camp, he will find potentially stiff competition from another undrafted rookie free agent in Drew Butler from the University of Georgia. Butler, who has NFL bloodlines being the son of former NFL kicker Kevin Butler, was a three-year starter and effective punter for the Bulldogs. During his career, he was a two-time All-America selection and the 2009 winner of the Ray Guy Award for the nation’s top punter.
More of a technician than a naturally athletic punter, he does not have elite leg strength and may struggle in the elements. However, he is technically sound and has adequate leg strength and accuracy. In fact, the 6-2, 214-pound punter may be one of the more consistent punters to hit the league this year, averaging 44.35 yards per punt with an average of 20 punts per season downed inside the 20-yard line over the past two seasons.
In the end, Butler is a talented punter with the bloodlines to make it in the NFL. If he can stay consistent and not go into slumps, he has a chance to stick. One thing is certain, this will definitely be one of the more interesting training camp battles at Latrobe in August.
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