The last two days has been great a draft, but much like all special teams attention there hasn’t been a kicker or punter drafted yet. While I hate to see this, the reason is simple;
History has not favored teams that have drafted kickers with high picks. Only a select few have panned out well the rest have been….. less than spectacular.
The Good: As much as it pains me to say this…..
Sebastian Janikowski-Raiders 2000 Draft – FSU 6’2 250lbs
Since entering the league in 2000 Janikowski has been the cream of the crop when it comes to kickers. Not only with having maybe the most interesting name for a kicker but also being remarkably consistent and having possibly the strongest leg in the league.
Some of his notable accomplishments have been
- Career 262 for 333 percentage of 78.7
- Average 26 field goals a season
- Most points in raiders history (1000)
- Longest Field Goal in Raiders History
Was the selection of Janikowski a bit of a stretch, no doubt, but has he met every expectation? Yes
The Bad- Partial bias on these two
Mike Nugent- 2005 NFL draft- 47th pick-OSU-5’10 190- New York Jets
Played 4 years with the Jets before losing his starting job and is now on his fourth team with the Bengals and on injured reserve. Had a sparkling college career, and performed decently in the NFL but hasn’t performed up to the standards of a second round draft pick, and now has bounced to his 4th team in 6 years. Also, considering the pro Bowl players that came after him( Vincent Jackson Nick Collins Frank Gore and Justin Tuck) , the selection was a poor choice of drafting a kicker.
Nate Kaeding- 2004 NFL Draft pick 65 Iowa 6ft 187
Might be a bit of a stretch to put him in the “bad” category but after looking at a larger picture it is evident. While an extremely consistent regular season kicker “Nasty Nate” has had his shortcomings.
Kaeding has a regular season conversion percentage of 173-200 for a 86.5% making him quite possibly the greatest regular season kicker currently(previously held by Vanderjagt). However, his performance in the postseason has earned the title of worst postseason kicker in NFL history. In 8 playoff games he is 8 of 15 including a miss in 5 games of his total 8 games. Most notably an 0-3 in the 2009 AFC divisional game against the Jets which the Chargers lost by 3. In the five Chargers losses Kaeding is has missed a field goal in 4 of them.
While I am a fan of Nate Kaeding his postseason numbers offset his regular season achievements and bring his overall worth down to a being an average kicker. Putting him in the draft pecking order, 3rd round is way too high to draft an average placekicker.
When I mean Ugly this is the worst of the worst.
Russel Erxleben 1979 Draft 11th overal Pick Texas New Orlean Saints.
Up there with Ryan Leaf as the worst draft picks of all time, Erxleben had a stellar college career as a 3time all american punter and has the longest field goal in NCAA history.
Notable follies in Erxleben’s career include
- an interception to lose a game in overtime in 1979 causing them a chance at their first winning season
- a career 50% field goal percentage
- a career 40.6 punt average
- playing in the league for only 6 years
After having quite possibly one of the greatest college careers ever Erxleben has quite possibly the most dissapointing Pro career for a kicker. One other consideration for “The Ugly”
John Lee 1986 draft 32nd overall UCLA- Lee never played in an NFL game after he couldn’t make the transition from kicking block to off the ground.
Note: Adam Vinatiei undrafted in 1996 D1-AA South Dakota State
Overall, as much as it would please me to see more kickers drafted, the track record isn’t in favor of team drafting kickers, with reasonably high picks. Also it should be noted some of the great kickers weren’t ever drafted. Simply, sometimes kicker is too great of a risk to draft without the greatest reward even if he might be built like a lineman and have a name like “Seabass”