Earlier this week, the Jets signed kicker Eddy Pineiro to their active roster. Having recently released Matt Ammendola and replaced him with Alex Kessman, they ended up releasing Kessman as well after he missed his only two kicks in his NFL debut. Today, we break down Pineiro in detail.
The 26-year old is listed at 6’0” and 185 pounds and was the kicker for the Chicago Bears in 2019, where he made 23 of 28 field goals. Other than that, he hasn’t played in the NFL, mostly due to injuries. Pineiro has also spent time with three other teams.
Pineiro, who was born in Miami to parents from Cuba and Nicaragua, initially had a background in soccer, although he did play on the football team in his last year at high school, albeit only to kickoff and kick extra points.
He initially went to Florida Atlantic on a soccer scholarship, but then left FAU due to academic issues and started playing football again at the junior college level.
After nearly heading to Alabama in 2016, Pineiro eventually opted to go to Florida and was one of the most accurate kickers in the nation over the next two seasons.
Pineiro missed only four field goals in his first season, two of which came in his second game. He also made all 32 of his extra points and closed out the year by making his last 11 field goals in a row.
In 2017, he was the most accurate kicker in the nation as he missed just one of his 18 field goal attempts. He did miss two extra points though.
After going undrafted, Pineiro was picked up by the Raiders, but spent his rookie year on injured reserve. In 2019, he was traded to the Bears and won their kicking role over eight other kickers during the summer.
He ended up making 23 of his 28 field goal attempts, settling down well after a rocky spell in the middle of the season saw him miss four of seven field goals to drop him to 31st in the NFL in field goal percentage. He was perfect over the last five games, making all 17 of his kick attempts.
In 2020, he won the kicking role again coming out of camp but then got injured before the opener and again spent the year on injured reserve.
He has not kicked so far this season but did play for the Colts in preseason and spent a short time on Washington’s practice squad. The Jets signed him to their active roster the day after Kessman’s ill-fated debut against Philadelphia.
Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Pineiro brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Pineiro isn’t very big and didn’t run or jump during the pre-draft process, although you might think he could be pretty good at running around if he has a background in soccer.
He hasn’t been a contributor in kick coverage with zero tackles at all (and zero missed tackles) in college or at the pro level. The Gators ran one fake with Pineiro in the game but he was just a decoy as the holder rolled out and got sacked.
Pineiro’s numbers are very good, both at the NFL and collegiate level. He’s also made 15 of 16 field goals (and five of six extra points) in preseason action. Any time you can find someone who is at over 80 percent for field goals, that’s encouraging. He missed two extra points during his college career and two during his one season at the NFL level.
He has shown a tendency to be streaky at times, but did well to bounce back with a strong finish after some struggles in the middle of his one NFL season.
Pineiro only attempted two 50-yard field goals in regular season action with the Bears, both of which were successful. They both came in his second career game with the second being a game-winner.
In preseason action, Pineiro successfully connected on this kick from 58 yards; his longest so far at the NFL level.
There are videos online of Pineiro making 70-yard field goals in practice and even nailing an 81-yarder.
In college, Pineiro only missed seven kicks total and six of those came in games that Florida won by at least 14 points.
However, there was one costly miss as he shanked this extra point that would have tied the LSU game 17-17 late in the third quarter. 17-16 ended up being the final score.
Closer scrunity of this kick shows that the holder was late to get the ball into position and it may have moved very slightly as Pineiro made contact, so perhaps that was excusable.
As noted, Pineiro made a 53-yard game winner in just his second game with the Bears, but then six weeks later he missed a short field goal as time expired in a one-point loss.
Since that time, he has made a game winner in the 2019 season finale and also hit on a preseason game winner for the Colts in August. These were both chip shots.
You could also say he dealt with the pressure well down the stretch in 2019 as his job was on the line after those midseason struggles.
Pineiro didn’t do a great job on kickoffs in 2019. He had just a 50 percent touchback rate and the 6th worst opposing starting field position in the league.
Interestingly, in his final year at Florida, every one of his kicks in the first nine weeks was a touchback but then from week 10 onwards, nine of 20 were returned. That was presumably by design.
The first thing to note on Pineiro is injuries. He missed the entire 2018 and 2020 seasons due to a groin issue. He’s presumably healthy again now but it would be frustrating if he establishes himself with the Jets only to then get injured again.
He should be good in tough conditions having played in the Windy City, although he’s only played one cold weather game in his career during which he made two of three kicks.
Pineiro was a teammate of current Jets Jarrad Davis, Marcus Maye, Jabari Zuniga and La’Mical Perine in college and has been a teammate of Keelan Doss and Lamarcus Joyner at the NFL level.
The Jets have obviously been trying to find a kicker for some time since Pro Bowler Jason Myers departed a few years ago and it’s galling to see so many recent Jets doing a good job on other teams.
Pineiro at least has some kind of pedigree at this level, unlike Ammendola and Kessman, each of whom were making their NFL debut when they played their first game for the Jets.
Perhaps the Jets don’t consider Pineiro to have an upside as high as untested players like those, which is why he didn’t get a shot until now. This is a good opportunity to show that he does in fact have NFL-level ability.