With six picks in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, there was a good chance the Ravens were going to make some surprising selections on Saturday. But no one saw it coming.
With 130 picks overall – the team’s fourth pick out of seven Day 3 – the Ravens picked Penn State punter Jordan Stout. Not only is the move surprising considering San Diego State star Matt Araiza, the “punt god,” but the Ravens have relied on veteran Sam Koch since the Nebraska punter was picked in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. ,
But the coach, who turns 40 in August and has played more matches (256) than any Raven, is entering the final year of his contract. The Ravens could save $2.1 million by chopping off the 16-year veteran, who holds the third-highest cap figure among punters in the league ($3.175 million).
General Manager Eric DeCosta referred to the coach as a “distinguished” member of the franchise and said that he spoke to him several times before the draft to alert him that the Ravens might draft a punter. “Going forward, we’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen,” he said. “I really just want to celebrate the guy we drafted. He’s got a big leg. … He’s a man we respected a lot during the whole process.”
There were punters before the stout board, and with good reason. He was named Big Ten Punter of the Year after setting Penn State’s regular-season record with an average of 46.6 yards per punt, but his accuracy was his calling card. In between 30-yard lines, Stout pinned his opponents inside the 20-yard line 83% of the time, according to Pro Football Focus. He allowed touchbacks on only 6% of the occasions, giving the opposing team an average starting field position of the 12-yard line.
That precision is something that Ariza lacked. While the Ray Guy award winner averaged 51.2 yards per punt—including eight punts for at least 70 yards and two highlight-reel 80-yard bombs—he made just 63 of his punts from inside opponents’ 30-yard lines. % kept. , with more ending up in the endzone for touchbacks (29%) than for 10 (27%).
Stout, who spent his first two college seasons at Virginia Tech, also handled the kickoff and served as a long-distance field-goal kicker for the Nittany Lions. He is second in Penn State history with five field goals for 50 or more yards.
He also said that he has a lot of experience as a holder. “I think it’s one of the best parts of my game, if not the best,” he said.
Coach John Harbaugh said that the Ravens examined Stout’s holding technique when he worked for the team. “You look at Jordan, he reminds you a lot of Sam,” he said.
Harbaugh said the coach is as much a coach as a player, adding that “Jordan will come here and learn from him, and we’ll see where it leads.”