While most people only pay attention to those rookies that are drafted during the annual NFL Draft, many of today’s top NFL players have gone undrafted during their entry to the NFL.
Every year, these players are signed following the draft and receive a shot at making an NFL roster and living out their dream as a player in the NFL. Adding 14 of these players this year, the Miami Dolphins have given themselves a solid rookie class to evaluate in the coming weeks.
One of these players is former Arizona State punter Matt Haack. cover32 recently got the chance to sit down and talk with Haack about both himself and his potential future with the Miami Dolphins.
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Ranking sixth across the NCAA last season in net punting average, what was the biggest key to your overall success as a member of the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Haack: They key to my success was the players and coaches around me. I had great players around me to cover the punts and coaches that put me in the best position to succeed. My teammates took pride in special teams and made plays while counting on me.
While punters very rarely get drafted, does the fact that you are entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent put an extra chip on your shoulder?
Haack: I am blessed and grateful that the Miami Dolphins have given me the opportunity to come in and compete for the job. Now it is up to me to take full advantage of this opportunity and compete to the best of my ability.
Undoubtedly brought in to provide competition for incumbent punter Matt Darr, what do you believe will be the key to potentially beating out Darr for a roster spot this season?
Haack: The key to winning any punting job is consistency throughout minicamp, OTAs, and training camp. Consistency in turning football over, high hang times, directional kicking, and showing different types of punts to keep the return game off balance.
When did you receive call from the Dolphins organization and what was your initial reaction when they offered you a chance to come play for the team?
Haack: I had talked to the Miami Dolphins throughout the whole day on Saturday as well as some other teams. When it came down to it I felt the best about Miami and the organization. It was a very humbling experience and one I will remember for the rest of my life. I am excited to have this chance with such a great organization in the Miami Dolphins.
What is one area of your game that you believe you need to work on?
Haack: Punting is a craft that I will always need to get better at. There are always things to work on in order to become the most well-rounded and effective punter. I have always relied on my athleticism and strong leg but punting is a unique talent. I will always be able to get better at those things as well as focus on consistency, directional punting, and the number of different punts to keep the returners uncomfortable when trying to catch the punts.
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Over the course of your career as a punter, is there any one player that you really looked up to and tried to mirror?
Haack: There was never one player that I tried to mirror but there were a lot of punters that I watched on film or had seen videos of and took notice in things that they did. I trained with Jamie Kohl and Kohl’s Kicking growing up so I took more notice in the guys he trained that were in the NFL.
Have any of the Miami Dolphins coaches or players reached out to you since you signed with the team?
Haack: I have kept in touch with the Special Teams coaches throughout the entire process.
For all of the Miami Dolphins fans reading this, let them know just who Matt Haack is and what they can expect from you during your time with the team.
Haack: They can expect a guy that will work hard and pay attention to detail in my work. I will do whatever I can to put this team in the best position to be successful. I will work to be my best to bring out the best in those around me on and off the field. I will work to earn my time in the NFL and hope that is with the Miami Dolphins for a long time.
What is the one thing that needs to happen for you to look back and call your time with the Dolphins a success?
Haack: To look back and know that I did everything in my power to put the team in the best position every time I am on the field. For this team to win and make my teammates and coaches better in the process then it will be a success.
Is there any one player that you are looking forward to punting against?
Haack: There are so many great punters across the league to compete against as well as punt returners that are greatly respected around the League. I look forward for the opportunity to play against them all.
– You can follow Matt on Twitter @matthaack21