2018 Draft Analysis, Part 1: Special Teams
February 8, 2018
by Adam Taraschke
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first installment of our 2018 draft preview series, which will be written by Adam. We will publish a new installment featuring a different position group each week leading up to the draft, which begins on April 26. Since there’s a long way to go, we decided to start with an easy one and feature special teams this week.]
Draft season is upon us. With the combine in less than a few weeks I thought it would be a good time to start putting together some player rankings and draft profiles. Since it’s early I thought I’d take a look at the special teams players I think have a shot at the next level. Let me be clear: there will be more specialists joining the NFL this year than I have listed. The names listed are the players for whom I have draftable grades in this April’s draft. I also must clear up that I am of the mindset that no specialist should ever be drafted before the 7th round. They are valuable assets, but the juice is never worth the squeeze when you draft a specialist too high. With that being said here are my rankings for this year’s draftable punters and kickers.
- Michael Dickson, Texas.
The reigning Ray Guy award winner for best punter in college football is Dickson. With his 6’3 frame comes great power and to compliment the power he has pinpoint accuracy. Averaging over 48 yards a punt Dickson has the size and natural ability to succeed in the NFL.
- JK Scott, Alabama.
Scott is another Ray Guy finalist. At 6’5 he can absolutely mash the football. He has a tendency to down the ball inside his opponents 20 yard line. With pro power and accuracy, it’s not out of the question to see Scott get drafted in April.
- Johnny Townsend, Florida.
Averaging just over 47 yards a punt, Townsend showed that his shorter stature does not limit his power in any way. He has great mechanics and kicks a consistently clean looking ball. He has NFL accuracy and lift on his kicks.
- Eddie Pineiro, Florida.
Florida had a ton of talent on their special teams this year. Pineiro is the clear cut #1 kicker in the country. He missed only 1 FG this season, going 17-18 on the year. Making multiple kicks past 50 yards in his tenure with the Gators Pineiro showed excellent power to go along with his elite accuracy.
- Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota.
Carpenter had a stellar 2016 campaign going a perfect 10-10 from beyond 40 yards. He slipped a bit in 2017, but the potential he showed in 2016 will be what carries him into the NFL. He has a massive leg with solid accuracy and repeatable mechanics. A strong build helps him create torque and consistently gets great lift on the football.