CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 19: Mike Nugent #2 of the Cincinatti Bengals kicks a field goal against the Baltimore ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on September 19 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The holder is Kevin Huber #10. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Now that the season is over, I’m starting to read a lot of mock drafts as always and on twitter (@D_Wyatt13) I’ll listen and converse with anyone who wants to talk NFL Draft. It’s close to an obsession. So recently I have been looking and talking, and one constant seems to be creeping up and that is the idea of using one of the draft picks to select a kicker.
Now we all remember the last kicker we selected, and for those who don’t it’s Mike Nugent. 2005 NFL draft, 2nd round pick 47 overall. One hell of a reach, a knee jerk reaction to Brien’s collapse in the 2004 post-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nugent enjoyed three (technically four, but 2008 was a washout) uninspiring years with the Jets. There were some struggles his rookie year (22 of 28 made for 78.6%) a rather impressive Sophomore season (24 of 27 made for 88.9%) and standard if disappointing follow up season (29 of 36 made for 80.6%). An injury in 2008, a good replacement in Jay Feely and Mike is looking for another job.
Interestingly, Mike has just enjoyed one of his best seasons in the NFL with the Bengals (33 of 38 for 86.8%). The Jets current kicker on the other hand has felt the wrath of the fans with a less than impressive follow up season (19 of 25 made for 76.0%). No wonder the Jets faithful are at least contemplating life after Nick Folk and whether drafting a kicker may be the way to go.
In 2011 only one kicker was selected in the draft. Alex Henry by the Eagles who enjoyed a promising rookie year making 24 of 27 field goals and 32 touchbacks. 2010 yielded no kickers and only one kicker arrived through the draft in 2009, that being Ryan Succop with the Chiefs, three up and down years later it seems a case of why bother.
With the kick-off rules changing before the 2011 season to place the ball at the 35 instead of the 30, we are seeing a larger number of touchbacks, less returns and a much easier job for kickers who don’t possess the monster legs. Place kicking is still a valuable commodity, just look at Dan Carpenter’s monster strike on Sunday. However with the new kick off rule, in my opinion the value of the kicker has further been decreased when it comes to spending a draft.
In my eyes you have one potentially draftable kicker in 2012 and that is Randy Bullock from Texas A&M. He is the only kicker I would even contemplate picking up with a valuable draft pick. Kicking is a carousel, just like with Nugent they are here one day and gone the next. It’s beyond pointless to use a draft pick when you can find a fix through free agency.
If you want a kicker for the Jets in 2012, how about Rian Lindell (86.7% before he went down with injury) or old fan favourite Jay Feely (poor 2012 and getting up there in age) or even better, bring back Mike Nugent coming off a big year, Phil Dawson or Neil Rackers, maybe go for the big gun in Josh Scobee. My point being, all these guys are free agents, and kickers come onto the market each and every year. We were beyond stupid to use a second round pick, in the current climate though even a 7th is probably not worth it.