2018 Senior Bowl Preview: Special Teams

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Punter JK Scott is a player to watch among the specialists at the 2018 Senior Bowl.

The Senior Bowl week has begun, the final time for these prospects to duke it out on the field before the draft. A lot of hope for these players rests not only in their performance in the game and during the week in practice, but also off the field in the interview portion. To help get ready for the week, I am doing a rundown of every player who is going to be in Mobile, Alabama. The players I am showcasing in these next 4 articles are based on the official rosters as of January 19, 2018. This article will be about the specialists for the both teams. The game is on January 27, 2018.

South Specialists:

JK Scott, Punter (Alabama): The best punter in the draft class is Alabama’s JK Scott. Scott has an incredible boot and great hang time on his punts. He also understands directional punting, and when to let off some power to down the ball inside the 20. Scott also handled kickoff duties his final season, averaging 63 yards and 45 touchbacks on 99 kicks. Scott should be drafted, but it’s hard to project specialists, and it’s harder to project punters than kickers, but don’t be surprised if Scott goes in the early to mid-4th round.

Daniel Carlson, Kicker (Auburn): Daniel Carlson is the best draft-eligible kicker in this class, and actually surprised some when he decided to return for his senior season. Carlson had a down year, converting a career low 74% of his kicks and 50% from beyond 50 yards. However, he has been steady over his four seasons, converting 100% of his PATs, 80% of his overall field goals, and 80% from beyond 50. Carlson also has 4 years of kickoff experience, averaging 63 yards and 221 touchbacks on 315 attempts. Carlson should be selected anyway from the 4th-5th rounds on draft night because of his strong leg and accuracy from distance. Also should note, Carlson is a decent athlete and has converted a couple fake kicks during his time at Auburn.

Ike Powell, Long Snapper (Auburn): Carlson’s teammate, Ike Powell was a dependable long snapper who didn’t botch any snaps for the Tigers. Long snappers generally don’t get picked in the draft, so he’ll be playing to impress enough to be a priority free agent.

North Specialists:

Johnny Townsend, Punter (Florida): The SEC is well represented in this specialist group with the fourth player from the conference being Johnny Townsend. Townsend has a big leg and is able to get a lot of air under his kicks. Townsend was also good at downing kicks inside the 20-yard line, with 63 punts inside-20 out of 176 total. He doesn’t have much experience kicking off, just one attempt, so that will be something scouts will ask him to do to add to his value. Much like Scott, Townsend should most likely be drafted, probably more towards the late-5th/mid-6th round range.

Michael Badgley, Kicker (Miami): Another kicker with a big leg, Badgley has the power to hit field goals well beyond 50 yards, it’s his consistency that scouts get hung up on. A career 79% field goal kicker, Badgley struggles with accuracy beyond 50 yards and within the 30-39 yard range, often due to the width of the hash marks. He’s very good between 40-49 yards, which helps back up the argument that his accuracy inside 50 is better than some stats might indicate. Also the Hurricanes’ kickoff specialist, Badgley averaged 62 yards per kickoff and 92 touchbacks in 190 kicks. Badgley might get drafted in the 7th round, but he is behind two kickers on my board.

Tanner Carew, Long Snapper (Oregon): Tanner Carew was another steady long snapper who hit on all his snaps. Much like Powell, he’s going to be playing more for PFA opportunities as opposed to being a draft pick.

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