Kickers and punters don’t always get their due — and there is a reason for that. It’s quantifiably observable that kickers and punters simply don’t impact the game of football as much as other skill positions. They’re not on the field as often, and they don’t provide as much value. Nevertheless, special teams are an integral part of success. That’s why each year, several teams find themselves picking kickers and punters with draft capital. This year, Kentucky punter Max Duffy has a chance to follow that path in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Max Duffy NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Punter
- School: Kentucky
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’0 3/4″
- Weight: 196 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Max Duffy Scouting Report
Positives: Australian-born punter who flashes brilliance on occasion. Possesses a big-time leg and easily flips the field. Displays the ability to pooch punt and effectively places punts. Handles the bad snap and can kick under pressure.
Negatives: Will be 28 years old this fall. Takes a while to get the ball off his foot.
Analysis: Duffy was a terrific punter the past three years at Kentucky, not only displaying a big leg but also placing punts when necessary. He needs to fine-tune his game but has terrific upside. At 28 years old, the clock is ticking.
Max Duffy Player Profile
There are numerous talent pipelines across the college football landscape. LSU and Ohio State are widely considered contenders for DBU. Alabama is the favorite to hold the WRU title. And although it doesn’t align with the format’s consistency, Australia can be accurately referred to as “Punter U.”
Many of the top punters in football have curiously hailed from Australia. In the last decade alone, Australian residents such as Brad Wing, Jordan Berry, Lachlan Edwards, Michael Dickson, and Mitch Wishnowsky have all successfully found roles in the NFL as punters. Before them, long-time special teamers Sav Rocca and Mat McBriar also started off in Oceania.
Australia’s track record of producing NFL punters is promising, and it bodes well for the career prospects of Kentucky punter Max Duffy. Born in Perth, Max Duffy started out playing basketball and soccer but transitioned to Australian football in his mid-teens.
From there, he began to unearth his own talent for kicking and placing the ball. In 2018, he made his way onto the recruiting board as a three-star punter and earned an opportunity on the college football stage with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Max Duffy’s career as a Kentucky punter
Punters don’t often receive much fanfare on the college football stage, but Duffy had a very productive career with Kentucky, nonetheless. The Kentucky punter began as a sophomore in 2018 and immediately took on a premier special teams’ role. That year, Duffy accumulated 60 punts for 2,687 total yards, good for an average of 44.8 yards per punt.
Duffy entered the 2019 season on the Ray Guy Award watch list for his consistency, and he didn’t disappoint. Duffy expanded on his 2018 success, this time accounting for 49 punts, 2,358 yards, and a 48.1 average. Additionally, he booted a season-long of 70 yards. Duffy converted on the high expectations, winning the Ray Guy Award — given to the nation’s best punter. He also earned first-team All-SEC recognition.
Duffy wasn’t quite as productive in 2020, but he still managed to maintain consistency amidst uncertainty. The Kentucky punter maintained a healthy average yards per punt of 45.1. He also earned a new career-long at 75 yards. After finishing up his master’s degree, Duffy set his sights on the NFL, where he’ll have a chance to carry on Australia’s longstanding tradition of special teams’ success.
Max Duffy’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Punters simply aren’t going to command much interest before Day 3. Nevertheless, in the later rounds, Duffy has a chance to be selected as an heir apparent for a team aiming to improve at punter. Australian punters with a Ray Guy Award on their belt have a favorable track record at the NFL level, and looking at Duffy’s production, he should have a chance to prove himself as a stabilizing agent on special teams.
Duffy was born in 1993, so he’ll be an older rookie at 28 years old. However, with his age comes experience and smarts. Duffy had a prominent leadership role within Kentucky’s special teams unit, and he also has holding experience and some success on punt fakes. All that, combined with Duffy’s statistical success, should give him a shot at being selected.
As for where Duffy goes, that’s always a bit in flux. It depends on teams being willing to spend draft capital on special teams players.
PFN’s Oliver Hodgkinson noted in Drue Chrisman’s profile that the Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers, and Green Bay Packers all might have the incentive to improve at punter, as they were toward the bottom of the league in net punting average.
Additionally, teams like the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and Dallas Cowboys all have punters on expiring contracts. They may see Duffy as a potential succession plan and lock him up with a seventh-round selection.
Want more 2021 NFL Draft prospect news? Want to do your own mock draft?
Dive into PFN’s Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator and test your own drafting acumen. Continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay in the loop on all things college football and the NFL Draft landscape.