Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Draft Day 3: Kickers and running backs take the NFL spotlight

LAS VEGAS ( Associated Press) – Running Backs & Kickers – Kickers? — were the focus in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.

Two punters and a placekicker went by as the final day of selection began before any more quarterbacks began, as most of the 32 NFL teams decided to pass passers-by as a weak crop. So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that LSU placekicker Cade York went to Cleveland at No. 124 overall, followed by Penn State punter Jordan Stout six spots later in Baltimore. 133 for Tampa Bay it was Georgia punter Jake Camarda—four places before quarterback fifth overall, Bailey Japp of Western Kentucky, moving to New England.

Of course, it can’t be ignored that the Patriots once had some luck with a late QB. What was his name?

“With the draft, it’s always a tossup, but I had a good idea that I was going to be a Raven,” said Stout, who will compete with veteran Sam Koch. “I’m very excited about it.”

“A great thing for me is that I know that special teams are always very successful with the Ravens.”

right. Justin Tucker has been the most accurate placekicker in NFL history, and the coach has been a mainstay in Baltimore since 2006.

Cleveland saw in York exactly what every team wants in a kicker with a game on the line: absolute confidence.

“I believe I am the best kicker in this draft because I have been able to do big kicks in great conditions,” he said. “I’ve been kept out for a very long field goal in tough conditions, and I’ve still got good results in it. I think that’s what makes me the best.”

Many scouts considered Camarda to be the best punter in the country. He was the 11th player selected from the national champs.

“I think it definitely prepared me for the next level, playing in Georgia for four years, playing every single biggest sport you can possibly imagine.” “The Books are definitely a team that wants to score a big run. I definitely think it has something to do with my history, playing those big games and big moments, I definitely think it’s the Books. is going to help to play with.”

The philosophy of driving the running back deep into the proceedings is nothing new, and several highly accomplished ball carriers were taken in Round 4. After Tampa Bay made Washington’s tight end Cade Otten the leadoff pick – Rob Gronkowski hasn’t publicly committed to a comeback – Houston grabbed Florida’s RB Damon Pierce. From there, Georgia’s Zamir White, Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller, FCS’s Pierre Strong of South Dakota State and Michigan’s Hasan Haskins round out the board.

Of the 38 fourth-rounders, including compensatory options, 20 were on offense, 15 on defense, and three special-team.

The fifth round, however, began with Washington grabbing North Carolina QB Sam Howell, who had been pitched as a much-picked pick just a year earlier, but was not an excellent final season for the Tar Heels.

Howell called it “a bit stressful” to sit through the four rounds.

“I was just hanging out and waiting for a call, and I’m so glad Washington called,” Howell said. “It’s the perfect place for me. It’s a team I’ve always wanted to play for.”


Associated Press Sports Writers Stephen Whynow, Tom Withers, Fred Goodall and Noah Trister contributed.


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