April 23rd, 2009
Here is a analysis of the AFC North for specialists.
1) Balitmore Ravens: K – Steve Hauschka, P – Sam Kock. For now the Ravens have Hauschka on the roster who wend 1 for 2 last year with his only make from 54 yards. The Ravens are looking for Matt Stovers successor and may use a draft pick here to get another one. Possibilites include Buehler, Swank from Wake Forest and a host of others. Hauschka has some decent kickoffs but not much expierence, look for him to compete with an incoming draft pick. Koch has a 45 yard punting average and 39 net (6th in the NFL). For his good work he has signed a one year deal worth 1.5 million back in March. Look for the compeition in the field goal department, punting is solid. Interesting to note, I think the Ravens will still have Stover avaialable if the new kids on the block dont produce, keep that in mind.
2) Cinninnati Bengals: K – Shayne Graham, P – Kyle Larson. Graham went 87% last season and 91% the year before. He also had a 63 yard kickoff average. Graham one the most accurate kickers in the NFL (Pro Bowl in 05′) has earned the respect of many thru the last few years. He also gained popularity be getting the franchise tag this past off-season. It means he will be one the highest paid kickers coming up this season. For the punting, Larson punted for the Bengals last season with a 39 yard punting average and 34 yard net. With these kind of numbers the Bengals have signed Ryan Plackmier who punted for the Washington Redskins last season in 10 games. Larson signed a 5-year deal in March of 08′. He is supposed to make 1 million this upcoming year. Rumor has the Bengals interested in local prosect Kevin Huber from the the Universtiy of Cinnatnnati as well. Huber an All-American, is one the best punters in the draft this year. Look for the Bengals to draft Huber is he still around in the later rounds.
3.Clevland Browns: K- Phil Dawson, P-Dave Zastudil. Dawson had a 83% ratio on his field goals and a 64.4 yard kickoff average. Zastudil had a 45.5 yard punt average and a 39.4 yard net average. Zastuduil signed a 5-year contract last season and has not faltered. Dawson has earned to respect of many and can be called the greatest kicker in Browns history. Its possible the Browns may pick up a free agent combo kicker to lighten the load.
4) Pittsburg Steelers: K – Jeff Reed, P – Mitch Berger . Reed was 87% last season and had a 62 yard kickoff average. Reed has had some off the field issues, but remains solid on the field. Reed now hass 733 points second all time to Gary Anderson in Pittsburg History. Berger, the punter, was signed a few times during the 2008 season. First due to the injury to Daniel Sepulvda who tore his ACL in the summer. The second was due to Paul Enrnster being inconsistent. Look for the Steelers to bring in some competition for Berger. I doubt it will be thru the draft but I don’t think the Steelers see Berger as their long-term punter.
Look for more from www.kickingsystem.com all this week
Player Breakdown: Punter, Kevin Huber, University of Cincinnati 6-1 / 221 lbs
Huber has great numbers and has won a dozen awards. I will not bore you with all that, but I have seen Huber kick in person and he has a great leg, huge leg. The knock is that he may be a little slow on his get off times coaches think that due to his three-step approach. But he is a lefty and coaches love that because they think returners have a tougher time handling the ball. Huber is the best punter of the crop this year. Good size and good mechanics. I would be surprised if he goes un-drafted. I think he will get drafted in the 3rd-5th round.
Key Note: Draft history of punters of the last few years:
|2008||Durant Brooks||Redskins||6h (168)|
|2007||Adam Podlesh||Jaguars||4th (101)|
|Daniel Sepulveda||Steelers||4th (112)|
|Brandon Fields||Miami||7th (225)|
|2006||Sam Koch||Ravens||6th (203)|
|Ryan Plackemeier||Seahawks||7th (239)|
|2005||Dustin Colquitt||Chiefs||3rd (99)|
|Reggie Hodges||Rams||6th (210)|
|2004||B.J. Sander||Packers||3rd (87)|
|Andy Lee||49ers||6th (188)|
|Donnie Jones||Seahawks||7th (224|