2024 NFL Draft: 3 kickers and a punter to look at

The NFL Draft is right around the corner and we will round out our positional rankings series by taking a look a the specialist positions, kickers and punters. There are not usually a ton of kickers and punters that get drafted every year, so instead of ranking them, we will review a handful of players that we think have a chance to get drafted. It is easy to forget how many specialist players get drafted each year, but history tells us there are usually a few that come off the board.

In the last 10 years, there have been 18 kickers drafted. The only year a kicker was not drafted in that time frame was in 2015. The two highest picks allocated to kickers since 2014 have been Roberto Aguayo, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with pick 28 of the 2nd round (59th overall) in the 2016 draft, and Jake Moody who was drafted by the San Fransisco 49ers with pick 36 of the 3rd round (99th overall) in the 2023 draft. The average overall draft pick of kickers since 2014 has been pick 174 which lands at the end of the 5th round.

Surprisingly, more punters have been drafted over the past 10 years than kickers, with 21 punters picked since 2014. The only year a punter hasn’t been drafted in that time frame was in 2017. There have been three punters drafted in the 4th round of the draft since 2014; Jordan Stout (Ravens) and Jake Camarda (Buccaneers) in 2022, and Mitch Wishnowsky (49ers) in 2019. The average overall draft pick of punters since 2014 has been pick 191 which lands in the middle of the 6th round.

Punter – Tory Taylor (Iowa)

Taylor rewrote the punting record books during his college career for the Hawkeyes. He set the NCAA record with 4479 total punting yards. Taylor was a three-time All-American and in his final season was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Ray Guy Award for the nation’s best punter. He also holds the Big Ten Conference record for career average yards per punt with 46.3 yards. In his career, Taylor accumulated 40 punts that went 50-plus yards and 32 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. He did all of this in a tough weather climate in Iowa, so weather isn’t much of a factor for him. Taylor has a chance to be the highest-drafted punter in the past 10 years, the third round is a stretch but not out of the question, he should be off the board in round four.

Kicker – Joshua Karty (Stanford)

Karty had a solid final two seasons at Stanford making 91.1% of his field goals over his junior and senior seasons. He has made eight field goals of 50-plus yards in his career, and his longest field goal made was 61 yards (2022). Karty has a significant leg that should produce made field goals in the mid-50-yard range. His kickoff power is impressive and he can drive it deep into the end zone. Karty has the potential to be a solid NFL kicker for a long time, I would expect him to get drafted around the fifth round.

Kicker – Cam Little (Arkansas)

Little made 53/64 (82.8%) of field goals in his career. His career long is 56 yards and he showed solid accuracy from 50-plus yards going 7/11 (63.6%) over his career. Little could use some more consistency from 40-49 yards, going only 12/17 (70.6%) in his career, which would have ranked close to the bottom of the NFL last season. He only allowed eight kickoff returns in 2023. Little should hear his name called before the 2024 draft is over.

Kicker – Will Reichard (Alabama)

Reichard is an experienced kicker that has made kicks in big games over the past five seasons at Alabama. He made 87% of field goals over his career and his career-long field goal was 52 yards. He was outstanding from under 40 yards out going 94.2% for his career from that range. His leg strength isn’t as good as the other kickers on this list but his accuracy and experience should give him a chance to compete for a starting spot in the NFL.

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