So you say kickers don’t matter? Tell that to the Chicago Bears, or the Minnesota Vikings, or the 2005 Jets, or the 1996 Chiefs. So much goes into success on each side of the ball. But at the end of the day, sometimes a simple kick is what solidifies the outcome for a winner or loser. With this amount of pressure, some kickers sometimes fall short. Therefore, it’s important to invest in a kicker who’s reliable, accurate, and doesn’t shrink in the largest moments. Can Ohio State kicker and NFL Draft prospect Blake Haubeil be that player?
Blake Haubeil NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Kicker
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 230 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Blake Haubeil Scouting Report
Positives: Double-duty kicker with a consistent leg. Gets immediate lift on field goals and drives them through the uprights.
Follows through on field goals and displays a big-time leg. Hit his career-best 55-yard field goal with room to spare. Gets decent hang time on kickoffs.
Negatives: Doesn’t drive his kickoffs through the opponent’s end zone. Seems to direct kicks on occasion, which leads to ruin.
Analysis: Haubeil has shown consistent progress in his game, but he’s a better field-goal kicker than kickoff man. He must improve the latter to make a roster at the next level.
Blake Haubeil Player Profile
It’s never a bad idea to invest in kickers who have the legs to go the distance. Haubeil is that kind of kicker. His 61-yard field goal in high school remains one of the longest in New York state history, and he had the consistency to match. He made 17 of his 22 field goal attempts in high school and only missed two extra points in 91 tries.
Haubeil’s big leg, combined with his relative accuracy, led to interest from some of college football’s more prestigious schools. Haubeil was a three-star recruit in the 2017 recruiting class and was one of the highest-ranked kickers on the board.
Haubeil would have commanded even more interest, but it was apparent early on that the Ohio State Buckeyes were likely to acquire him. He committed to the Buckeyes as a junior and maintained that commitment through the rest of his high school career.
Blake Haubeil’s career as an Ohio State kicker
When Haubeil came to the Buckeyes in 2017, Ohio State already had a starting kicker in Sean Nuernberger. Nuernberger held the position through the 2017 season, converting on 17 of his 21 field goal attempts, while making all of his extra points. Nuernberger carried the starting job into the 2018 season. However, when he missed two of his first five field goals, the job was passed on to Haubeil.
Haubeil went on to see a larger workload in 2018, making 10 of 13 field goal attempts while converting on all 37 extra points. He maintained the starting position in 2019 and had his best season yet, sending in 13 of 15 field goal attempts, on top of 85 extra points.
The Ohio State kicker was poised to finish strong in 2020. Unfortunately, a groin injury forced him to miss time in the regular season, and a positive COVID-19 test prevented him from playing in the national championship against Alabama.
In spite of his underwhelming finish, Haubeil had a solid collegiate career, and he was one of the better kickers in college football at his peak. He made 28 of his 35 career attempts, and he also never missed an extra point, dishing in all 146 of his point-after kicks.
Blake Haubeil’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Kickers don’t often command a great deal of interest on the NFL Draft stage. That’s not likely to change here. It takes an uncanny level of consistency to earn a selection even on Day 3. That’s a level that most college kickers don’t reach. That’s the case with Haubeil. Nevertheless, he has enough on his résumé to be selected in Round 6 or 7.
Haubeil will need to improve on his accuracy from the collegiate level. He only converted at a rate of 80% in college. He’ll also need to prove that he can take kickoffs in the NFL.
Still, Haubeil’s kicking power cancels out some of the concerns surrounding his utility. His 61-yarder in high school accurately advertises his leg strength, and his career-long in college (55 yards) was a rocket that could have made it from further out. Thus, his leg power implies that he can improve with kickoffs over time.
Haubeil is unlikely to follow in the steps of Roberto Aguayo or Sebastian Janikowski as early selections, but kickers provide the best value late. Teams like the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, or Vikings might have an incentive to add a kicker.
Furthermore, the Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Football Team, and Detroit Lions all have expiring kicker contracts in 2022. Even if Haubeil doesn’t get drafted, he should get a chance to show off his leg to NFL teams as an undrafted free agent. That’s how plenty of kickers get started year in and year out.
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