Florida’s Evan McPherson and Georgia Tech’s Pressley Harvin III ensured that there was both a kicker and a punter selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. Could the same feat be achieved by prospects trying to make a living with their feet next season? We take a look at the candidates for the top kicker and punter in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft
These are my very early rankings of the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft class. The rankings are compiled from observations made while watching players in the 2021 class and early adventures into 2022 summer scouting. As such, they’ll be subject to change throughout the summer and 2021 college football season. Nevertheless, it presents an early look at the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
1) Cade York, LSU
A former three-star prospect who was viewed as one of the best high school kickers in the nation, Cade York was given the near-impossible task of replacing cult hero Cole Tracy at LSU. Although he endured some growing pains in 2019 — missing 10 total kicks — he recovered and became one of the best kickers in college football in 2020. He made 100 percent of his extra-point attempts and 85.7 percent of his field-goal attempts.
York also has one of the strongest legs of any of the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft, with a career-long of 57 yards. Moreover, he proved that he can come up clutch when needed. The LSU kicker is one of just three players who nailed a 50-plus yard field goal with under a minute to go during the 2020 season.
2) Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma
In terms of pure statistics, it looks like Oklahoma kicker Gabe Brkic had a poor 2020 season. After all, he only made 76.9 percent of his field-goal attempts. However, six of his 26 field goal attempts last season were 50-plus yard efforts, and he made four of them. Before that, he hadn’t missed a single field goal attempt, and he converted all 102 of his career extra-point attempts.
His 54-yard career-long kick came in the Big 12 Championship win over Iowa State, which was the longest field goal for the Sooners since 1990. Furthermore, it was the fourth-longest kick in Oklahoma history.
3) Will Reichard, Alabama
The Alabama Crimson Tide saw 10 players selected in the NFL’s annual selection event in Cleveland, and although their class may not be as deep next year, they’re already set to have one of the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft. With such a potent offense last season, there weren’t too many occasions where the field goal unit was required. Yet, when it was, Will Reichard was as reliable as they come.
He’s the only kicker on this list who made every single one of his kicks in 2020. He went 14 of 14 on field goals while booming all 84 of his extra points through the uprights. Additionally, he successfully converted his only 50-plus yard attempt last season. He has only missed four kicks of any sort in his entire Crimson Tide career.
4) Andre Szmyt, Syracuse
Syracuse’s Andre Szmyt is one of the most experienced kickers of all the potential top prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft. A starter since 2018, he’s also one of the best, winning the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker following the 2018 season. That season he was responsible for an impressive 151 of Syracuse’s points.
Although Szmyt’s accuracy has declined slightly over the last two seasons, he is still one of the most accurate kickers in the class. He has made 86.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 98.4 percent of his extra-point attempts for his career. Szmyt’s 54-yard career-long also ties Brkic and BYU’s Jake Oldroyd for second behind only LSU’s York.
5) Nick Sciba, Wake Forest
Wake Forest senior Nick Sciba is one of the most statistically impressive kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft class. During his career for the Demon Deacons, he has hit 89.1 percent of his field goals. Meanwhile, Sciba has never missed an extra point attempt. Although his field goal conversion was below his career average last season, he still nailed all 31 of his extra-point attempts.
Where Sciba’s stock will be harmed compared to the rest of the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft is with his leg strength. His longest career conversion is 49 yards, less than all of the other kickers on the list. Nevertheless, he should still garner consideration due to his level of accuracy and consistency on extra-point attempts.
Honorable mention for the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft
Jake Oldroyd, BYU; Anders Carlson, Auburn; Cameron Dicker, Texas; Matt Coghlin, Michigan State; Parker White, South Carolina; Brayden Narveson, Western Kentucky; Charles Campbell, Indiana; Connor Culp, Nebraska; B.T. Potter, Clemson.
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Top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft
These are my very early rankings of the top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft. They will undoubtedly change throughout the upcoming college football season.
1) Jake Camarda, Georgia
A former three-star recruit and the second-ranked punter in the 2018 recruiting class, Jake Camarda won the Georgia punting job as a freshman and has held on to it ever since. Last season, he achieved an average of 46.6 yards per punt, amongst the most of any of the top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Camarda has a 67-yard career-long punt, and last season, he downed 50 percent of his punts inside the 20-yard line.
Displaying tremendous consistency, Camarda has boomed a punt over 60 yards in each of his three seasons with the Bulldogs.
2) Lucas Dean, UTSA
A Dunsborough, Australia native, UTSA’s Lucas Dean will look to continue the ever-growing trend of Australian punters in the NFL. Outside of Camarda, no other punter on this list recorded more punts downed inside the 20 than Dean last season. He dropped an impressive 47 percent of his attempts deep into enemy territory, with 15 coming inside the 10-yard line.
Dean demonstrated development between his freshman season and last year, increasing his average punt from 40.8 to 46. Furthermore, he booted a career-long 67-yard punt in 2020 — his previous long had been 56 yards. Dean is an ascending prospect to keep an eye on.
3) Michael Turk, Arizona State
Arizona State’s Michael Turk is one of the most interesting punter prospects in this class. After a spectacular 2019 season where he boomed a 75-yard punt, averaged 46 yards per attempt, and downed over half his attempts inside the 20-yard line, he declared for the draft. Turk turned heads with an impressive bench press performance but ultimately went undrafted following disappointing punting drills.
Turk fought to return to the Sun Devils, citing the global situation as having impacted his opportunity to be drafted. He succeeded, and in a shortened 2020 season, displayed consistency with a 47.2 punt average. If he can achieve a combination of consistency while demonstrating the leg strength he exhibited in 2019, he’ll comfortably be one of the top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft class.
4) Adam Korsak, Rutgers
Another Australian punter trying to establish themselves as one of the top prospects at the position in the 2022 NFL Draft class is Rutgers’ Adam Korsak. The Melbourne native emerged as one of the strongest legged kickers in the nation in 2018, booming a 79-yarder in his debut season playing the sport.
Although he hasn’t achieved the punt averages that some of the prospects on this list have — 42.7, 43.8, and 43 yards, respectively, over the past three seasons — Korsak has been consistent. Moreover, he downed 44 percent of his punts inside the 20-yard line last season.
5) Lou Hedley, Miami
Punters don’t come more recognizable than Miami’s Lou Hedley. At 6’4″, 225 pounds, and covered in tattoos, he isn’t the sort of player you try and run through as you return one of his punts. Not that too many of his punts get returned.
Over half of his 2020 attempts resulted in fair catches, while he averaged 47.2 yards per punt. As a result, he was named as a finalist for the Ray Guy Award last season.
Despite this, one of the areas where Hedley pales compared to the other top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft is the number of punts downed inside the 20. Last season, only 28.5 percent of his attempts landed inside the opponent’s red zone. The rest of the punters on this list were over 40 percent.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.