Kickers and punters are universally the most under-appreciated positions in the entire NFL. While games, and entire seasons, can hinge on a few key yards of field position or a clutch game-winning field goal, kickers and punters are oft-lamented for their miscues and rarely-remembered for their achievements.
Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski have largely created a legacy of mistake-free place kicking here in New England for the past 17 seasons. Highlighted by recent highlights Zoltan Mesko and Ryan Allen in the punting department, the Patriots have been well set at both positions for many years.
Bill Belichick has shown time and time again how much he values the performance of his special teams units, and no position is more important to special teams than the kicker. Gostkowski was selected in the fourth-round of the 2006 NFL Draft by Belichick and the Patriots to step in as Vinatieri’s replacement. The University of Memphis prospect has evolved into one of the NFL’s premier scorers, displaying consistency and composure season after season. While Gostkowski shows no signs of slowing down, the New England front office has never displayed the same affinity to fan-favorites as Patriot Nation.
We at cover32 have put together a list of the top 10 kickers and punters in this year’s NFL Draft class. Should the Patriots target one of these prospects as a cheaper alternative to Gostkowski? We would venture to guess that punter Ryan Allen’s position is safe for another few seasons, but Gostkowski does not share the same job security.
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