April 20th, 2009
Here is the second post for the TKS Draft Week Analysis for the upcoming NFL Draft:
AFC West and Specialists:
1) San Diego Chargers: K – Nate Kaeding, P – Mike Scifres. Its safe to say that the Chargers will NOT be drafting a kicker/punter this year. A MVP performance by Scifres (40.9 Net Avg.) and a solid year by Kaeding (84.4% on FG’s), they may be the best tandem in the NFL. Kaeding improved his kickoffs from 07′ but still averaging 63.7 per kickoff. If they do bring a free agent kicker in, its only to lighten the load for these two workhorses.
2) Oakland Raiders: K – Sebastian Janikowski, P – Shane Lechler . Another team that will NOT be drafting a kicker or punter. Lechler ended up going to the Pro Bowl (48 yard avg / 41 net avg), although Charger punter Mike Scrifres felt snubbed; Janikowski had a good year hitting 80% on Field goals. Jano’s biggest assest is his booming kickoffs that will help keeep him around averaging 65 yard per kickoff last year with good hang time. Jano has been working hard this off-season working with kicking coaches on this technique, look for some improvements in his short game. Again, if they bring in a leg its to lighten the load for summer camp.
3) Kansas City Chiefs: K – Conner Barth, P – Dustin Colquitt . Barth only played in 10 games, hitting 10 of 12 FG’s with a long of 45 yards. Barth struggled on his kickoffs averaging a lowly 58 yards per kick. Look for the Chiefs to add some legs either via the draft or via free agency in the later rounds. David Buehler might be a great fit here if he is still on the board. Buehler not known for his short game has booming kickoffs that can help immediately and push Barth. Colquitt had a 44.4 yard average with a 39.2 net average (10th in NFL punting average / 8th in net average) , not shabby numbers for the 5th year pro. The Chiefs are happy with Colquitt and will try to restore thier kickoffs coverage unit with a kickoff specialist. If Buehler is around in the later rounds I think the Chiefs take him, but more likely free agent route espcially after the debacle of their last drafted kicker, a name I will not mention.
4) Denver Broncos: K – Matt Prater, P- Brett Kern. Prater coming off not a great year 73% on field goals and 65 yards on kickoffs. Ranked him 33rd in the NFL in field goal percentage. Strong kickoff leg but had trouble in the middle range kicks, missed 8 kicks in the last 8 games. I believe its Prater job is he wants it, the Broncos will bring someone in to competer but will want Prater to win the job in the summer. I think if Louis Sakoda is available or a strong free agent kicker that has consistency they will have a small chance. The punter, Kern was 8th in punting average in the NFL but 17th in net average. Kern a undrafted free agent (maybe thats why I like him) has done well and I dont expect the Broncos to make any replacements here.
Key Note: Two kickers were taken in last year’s draft — Taylor Mehlhaff in the sixth round (178th overall) by New Orleans and Brandon Coutu in the seventh round (235th overall) by Seattle.
Look for more everyday this week with new information on the draft from http://www.kickingsystem.com