What’s the best way for an NFL franchise to draw a collective yawn from their fan base? Select a punter or a kicker in the draft.
Nobody wants to think much about these two positions. Nor do they want their team to invest much in filling these roles. Luckily for the 49ers, they’re already set with a special tandem of specialists Phil Dawson and Andy Lee. Last regular season, Dawson made a franchise-record 27 straight field goals and ranked ninth in the league with 32 successful attempts, including a 4-for-6 mark from 50 yards and beyond. He came through in the clutch several times. Lee, meanwhile, was third in average yards (48.2) and fourth in net yards (41.7) per punt. He was named an alternate for the Pro Bowl.
Kickers and punters are mostly afterthoughts, necessary evils on a roster stocked with “skill” position players who get all of the glory and behemoths who toil in the trenches.
But in a league where the difference between winning and losing is razor thin, the reality is that games are often decided by kickers and punters. A 10- to 15-yard swing in field position at the wrong time can make all of the difference. And three points is often the margin of victory.
So despite the fact that finding the right kicker and punter is akin to shopping for paper towels and laundry detergent, the task is vital to the success of a team. The wrong player in either position can derail the best-laid plans.
With that in mind, here are the 10 best kickers and punters available in this year’s class.
– Last week, cover32 look at the top 10 safeties in the draft. (READ)