View Full Version : Sepulveda a key to our special teams

05-08-2007, 10:08 AM
By Teresa Varley

The Steelers set their sights on selecting a punter in the draft, and when they thought the one they wanted might not be there when they selected, they did what they had to they made a trade.

The team traded their fourth and sixth-round picks to move up in the fourth round and select punter Daniel Sepulveda from Baylor.

"We felt like we were trading up to get a starting position," said director of football operations Kevin Colbert. "This kid is going to potentially be our starting punter. We were willing to give up that sixth pick because we had the multiple picks in the fourth and fifth, we just decided to eliminate the margin for error. He was really the one guy left that we would have considered drafting, so we went ahead and made the move."

Trading up to take a punter isn't a common thing, but for head coach Mike Tomlin, who stresses the importance of special teams, it makes perfect sense.

"That is a legitimate phase of football," said Tomlin. "We are going to put our money where our mouth is, in regards to that. It is a position that is very important. We are talking about field position and special teams. He is a left-footed punter and he punts it a great distance, with great flight time. He is a very talented guy and we supported that all the way."

The Steelers punting situation right now includes veterans Chris Gardocki, who has been with the Steelers since 2004 but is now in his 17th season, and Mike Barr, a first-year player who has been with the Steelers the last three training camps. Tomlin said after the draft he expects to have two punters in training camp and Sepulveda is ready for the competition.

"I recognize that if you don't get the job done, you're not going to be the guy," said Sepulveda. "I'm looking forward to some competition, to learning as much as I can from both of those guys because they have been around a lot longer than I have, and know the ropes, obviously, better than I do. I'm going to do the best I can to learn from them and we'll just go forward and do the best we can."

Sepulveda walked on at Baylor as a linebacker, but made the move to punter his freshman year. He averaged 45.24 yards per punt at Baylor, including a 46.48-yard average his senior season. He had four punts blocked his freshman season, but none since then. Of his 277 punts, he has put 82 of them inside the 20 and 94 have been over 50-yards. No bad numbers at all for a guy who was more likely to take to tackle a punter than be one.

"It was definitely a tough transition for me," said Sepulveda of moving to punter, a position he also played in middle school. "Obviously, the mindset for those two positions is drastically different. Making that transition is one that took a couple of years. It wasn't kind of just flipping the switch for me. And I struggled with that.

"I guess the first couple of years that I was the punter at Baylor, and started to realize and recognize that that's all I was going to be doing. I tried to sneak my way onto some special teams throughout my career and was able to do that at times. I really did enjoy it, but finally did settle in to where I knew that punter was the position that God would have me to be at."

I truly believe that by the time the 2007 season is over we are going to be very happy with our 4th round pick. His added hang time and average net distance are going to be felt immediately on our special teams. In some of those tough defensive games that turn into field position battles we have a ringer on our side. I also believe that our punt team will come up with a few big turnovers this year with the extra hang time that Sepulveda gets. I look for a much bigger contribution this year from our special teams all around. Willie Reid returning kicks. Timmons & Woodley + Chidi covering kicks and Sepulveda booming kicks give us an advantage on special teams IMO.

Willie Reid + D. Sepulveda = winning the special teams battles


05-08-2007, 11:18 AM
Well said B&G4evr :clap:

This is the 1st time i can ever remember looking forward to a punt :lol:
Just hope we don't have to use him very much :tt02:

05-08-2007, 11:44 AM
It's hard to believe there is so much hype about a punter :dunno: Hopefully this dude can live up to the hype!

05-08-2007, 11:51 AM
Only giving up a extra late round pick to get him is worth it considering how bad our punting was last year and special teams in general. The lack of hang time and good punting affects the coverage units as well.

Sep won't just be handed the job but you have to think he's the odds on favorite. He appears to be up for the challenge and has a positive attitude. I agree though with AZ, this is a lot of pressure on this kid so hopefully he stays grounded, learns the ropes and is able to step in and handle the responsibility.

House of Steel
05-08-2007, 12:08 PM
Our Special Teamers are going to kick *** this year. I am actually very excited about it too. I might just get a Sepulveda Jersey and jump on K-train's fan club for D-Sep!!! :tt02:

05-08-2007, 12:16 PM
Our Special Teamers are going to kick *** this year. I am actually very excited about it too. I might just get a Sepulveda Jersey and jump on K-train's fan club for D-Sep!!! :tt02:

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Can't bring myself to getting a punter's jersey :lol:

05-08-2007, 01:14 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Can't bring myself to getting a punter's jersey :lol:

Same here. I just can't quite justify it although I like the pick and think he will help turn our special tems around I don't see myself buying a jersey. Maybe I'll change my mind if he jacks some kick returners up this season.

05-08-2007, 10:07 PM
I liked the pick from the start.

K Train
05-08-2007, 10:12 PM
lol like its not his job.....trust me he is our punter lol