Following an exceptional season, the Georgia Bulldogs are set to send numerous players to the NFL this April. However, one NFL Draft prospect that doesn’t receive nearly enough attention is Georgia punter Jake Camarda. Punters are prospects too, and Camarda’s scouting report reveals a player who is at the peak of his position and primed for a long professional career.
Jake Camarda NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Punter
- School: Georgia
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’0 3/4″
- Weight: 191
- Wingspan: 75″
- Arm: 30 3/8″
- Hand: 9 5/8″
Jake Camarda Scouting Report
From Ray Guy to Rohn Stark, punters have been more prevalent in the NFL Draft than one might presume. Remarkably, just two draft classes since 2000 haven’t featured a punter at some point within the seven rounds. Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Georgia Tech’s Pressley Harvin III in the seventh round.
Can Camarda follow in these footsteps and hear his name called in the 2022 NFL Draft? Not only can he, but I have every belief that he will. Currently, the Georgia punter is my 241st overall prospect in the class, and number one overall special teams prospect.
The most impressive element of Camarda’s scouting report as an NFL Draft prospect is his consistency. He has boomed a punt over 60 yards in each of his four years with the Bulldogs.
Furthermore, aside from his first season with the program, his punt average has been within 0.4 yards year on year. It’s a remarkable level of consistency that is produced by a methodical and technically sound approach to punting the ball.
Consistency, accuracy, leg strength
Although he may not have the same caliber of leg cannon as fellow punter prospect Matt Araiza, Camarda still possesses excellent leg strength. He hit a career-long 68-yard punt this season against Alabama. Furthermore, he’s hit multiple 60-plus-yard punts in each of his seasons with the Bulldogs. In 2019, 2 of his career 60-yard punts came in suboptimal conditions versus Kentucky, showcasing his ability to perform in poor conditions.
Punting is more than just hammering the ball down the field. Utilizing your punter to flip field position requires accuracy and placement. In this regard, Camarda is comfortably the best in the 2022 NFL Draft class. He routinely pins the opposition behind the 20-yard line with his punts and has multiple punts downed within the 10-yard line. Camarda gets excellent hang time on his punts, allowing the punt unit to get downfield and make a play.
With his combination of efficient ball handling, clean striking, and elevation, Camarda has just one blocked punt in his college career. He’s rarely flustered by opposition pressure and has shown that he can perform in the biggest of games.
With his combination of consistency, reliability, accuracy, and leg strength, Camarda should have a long career in the NFL.
Areas for improvement
Camarda projects to be the best punting prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class. As a result, his scouting report has very few flaws among a large number of strengths. However, there are some issues that could slightly temper his NFL stock.
As the NFL values versatility, there are more versatile punters in the class. Multiple punter prospects handle field-goal duties for their team, with Penn State’s Jordan Stout a program FG record holder for the Nittany Lions. Although Camarda has handled kickoff duty for the Bulldogs, he hasn’t been a placekicker since he was in high school.
Despite having a decent leg, Camarda falls somewhat behind multiple punter prospects in this NFL Draft class in that regard. However, his consistency and accuracy should ensure that he isn’t judged solely on how far he can punt the ball.
Jake Camarda Player Profile
Although he heads to the 2022 NFL Draft as one of the best punting prospects in the class, Camarda has a long and varied family history of sporting excellence. His father was a pole vaulter at Clemson, and Camarda himself dabbled on the diamond as a center fielder and relief pitcher. However, punting was clearly a passion for the kid from Norcross, Georgia.
As a high school junior, Camarda was named the AP All-State Class 7A first-team punter, attracting the attention of multiple college football programs and recruiting sites. He was named the No. 1 punter in the class, with a three-star rating from 247Sports.
Despite offers from other SEC schools including Alabama — plus interest from Rutgers and Syracuse, among others — home was truly where the heart was for Camarda in his recruiting journey. The rare kicking talent committed to the Bulldogs in April before his senior season.
Georgia commitment comes ahead of sensational senior season
“It is a school close to home,” Camarda told reporters on his commitment. “I really love the coaching staff and everything they have going on there. It has always been a dream of mine to play SEC football. It just made sense and felt right.”
During his senior season, Camarda solidified his standing as one of the best in the nation. Averaging 46.2 yards per punt– with a long of 65 and 13 punts inside the 20 — he earned first-team All-State honors again.
Meanwhile, he was invited to the 2018 Under Armour All-American game. Although he was still a three-star recruit by industry-standard sites, Camarda’s kicking earned him a five-star rating and Kohl’s Kicking offered a glowing review of his ability.
“He is impressive in his refinement and his ability. He can directional punt with power and has great confidence in his punting mechanics. One of the most impressive punters we have seen at the high school level. He is ready to start at a Power Five school right now.”
Camarda’s career at Georgia
Camarda was more than ready to start. He set foot on campus and immediately won the starting role for Georgia during preseason camp.
Having won the job in camp, he secured it with his performances as a freshman. Although his 42.6 yards-per-punt average would be the lowest of his career, Camarda boomed multiple punts over 60 yards. Furthermore, he downed 10 inside the 20, 4 inside the 10, and incredibly downed 2 punts at the 1-yard line.
The Georgia punter followed up a fantastic freshman season with a standout sophomore campaign. Camarda was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after an Auburn game where he pounded the ball 11 times for a 50.7-yard average that included a then career-long 67 yarder. It was one of 6 punts over 60 yards in 2019, helping fuel an average of 46.8 yards per punt. Impressively, 25 of his 61 punts were downed inside the 20.
Despite the disruption of the 2020 season, Camarda picked up exactly where he’d left off. He was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after downing 5 of 7 attempts inside the 11-yard line in the season opener against Arkansas. He’d secure the award again against Kentucky on his way to being named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.
Standout senior season leads to Senior Bowl invite
Camarda was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award as a junior and named a second-team All-American by multiple outlets.
Having already established himself as a premier punter, he added kickoff responsibilities to his résumé. He put the special into Georgia’s special teams, with 36 of 41 kickoffs going for touchbacks and 2 of the returned kicks failing to get past the 3-yard line.
Camarda continued to handle kickoff duties into his senior season. During the 2021 campaign, he handled 87 kickoffs, with 65 touchbacks and 15 fair catches. He opened his season as a punter in spectacular style, landing 4 of 5 attempts inside the 20 against Clemson, including 1 downed at the 2-yard line. He broke new ground, setting career highs for punt average (47.0) and longest punt (68 yards).
As a result, he earned first-team All-SEC honors. Furthermore, his punting prowess attracted the attention of Jim Nagy and the team at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Camarda will put his talents on display in Mobile, where he’s considered to be one of the best punting prospects in the last 5-10 years.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Jake Camarda
Positives: Big-legged punter who is also used for kickoffs. Mechanically sound, quickly gets the ball off his foot, and hits towering punts that get tremendous hang time and allow coverage units to get down the field to make plays. Consistently forces opponents to call for the fair catch thanks to hang time of punts. Shows ability as a directional punter. Gets depth and hang time on his kickoffs.
Negatives: Displays a lot of inconsistency in his game. Has difficulty placing punts.
Analysis: Camarda was a consistent and productive special teamer at Georgia and offers starting potential as a punter who can also handle kickoff duties in the NFL.
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