These 2023 NFL Draft prospects put the special into special teams. These 2023 NFL Draft prospects put the foot into football. Forget the quarterback conversation, the top kickers and punters in the 2023 draft class have the potential to kick that competition into next week.
Top Five Kickers in the 2023 NFL Draft
There’s been a kicker selected every year since 2015, and there’s a strong possibility that streak continues in the 2023 NFL Draft. Which cannon-legged clutch kickers are set to follow in the footsteps of recently drafted dynamos such as Cade York, Evan McPherson, and Tyler Bass?
As the 2022 college football season heads towards a dramatic conclusion, these prospects have asserted themselves as the best in the nation.
5) Christopher Dunn, NC State
A new entry into the top five kickers in the 2023 NFL Draft, Christopher Dunn has been a bright spark for a North Carolina State program that had high expectations coming into the 2022 CFB season. While the offense has sometimes struggled, Dunn has been as clutch as they come.
With 455 points scored for the Wolfpack through Week 10 of the season, Dunn is comfortably the highest-scoring player in NC State history. He also holds the record for most field-goal completions in program history, nailing 87 of his 104 attempts for an 83.7% career percentage.
This season, Dunn has showcased both power and consistency as a 2023 NFL Draft kicking prospect. He’s 100% on both field goals and extra points, while demonstrating his leg power with a 53-yard long against FSU. Having missed all of his 50+ yard attempts a year ago, Dunn has shown impressive development this season and should attract attention next April.
4) Noah Ruggles, Ohio State
A top-10 kicker in the nation out of Steinbrenner High School, Noah Ruggles spent the early part of his college career at North Carolina. While nailing every extra-point attempt for the Tar Heels, he had limited field-goal success during his time there.
Nevertheless, Ruggles’ transfer to Ohio State unlocked his talent. He was one of the most consistent kickers in the 2021 season, hitting 95.2% of his field goals and stretching his extra-point conversions to 122 straight.
With three games remaining on the season, Ruggles has stretched that to 177 consecutive extra-point conversions. While he hasn’t been routinely tasked with kicking field goals — just 11 attempts — he’s been perfect in the 40-49 yard range. However, missing all four of his career attempts over 50 yards could impact his 2023 NFL Draft stock.
3) Jake Moody, Michigan
It’s been 20 years since Michigan had a kicker selected in the NFL draft. But Jake Moody isn’t your average Wolverine. He’s a ball-striking sensation, a special-teams wonder. Last season, after converting 92% of his field-goal attempts and all 56 extra-point attempts, Moody became the first player in school history to win the coveted Lou Groza Award.
Moody’s magic last season was reminiscent of his electric freshman campaign. However, he’s had his share of struggles this season. While attempting more field goals than anyone in the nation through college football Week 10, he’s only completed 79.2%. Although he has a career-long of 54 yards demonstrating his leg power, Moody’s converted under 50% of his 50+ yard attempts this year.
Despite this, Moody has shown through his college and high school career that he has the leg strength and clutch gene to come up big when the game is on the line. He might have more opportunities to showcase that later this season, which can cement his 2023 NFL Draft stock.
2) Andre Szmyt, Syracuse
While earning an honorable mention in our preseason list of kickers in the 2023 NFL Draft, Syracuse’s Andre Szmyt has elevated his game to the point where he should be considered one of the best in the nation. After a difficult 2021 season, the fifth-year kicker is in the running for the Lou Groza Award (which he won as a freshman) and finds himself on the Shrine Bowl 1000 Watchlist.
When Szymt won the Lou Groza Award as a freshman, he was responsible for 151 of Syracuse’s points as a constant kicker who could get the job done from downtown. This season is almost a mirror image of that campaign.
Szmyt’s completion percentage (88.2%), long field goal (54 yards), and extra-point percentage (100%) in 2022 matches 2018 exactly. Meanwhile, he’s proven reliable from 50+ this year (2/2) while coming up clutch to power the Orange to a win over Virginia.
1) Harrison Mevis, Missouri
The Mevis name has a presence in the NFL draft for the second year in succession. While Andrew went undrafted out of Iowa State last cycle, Harrison Mevis has the potential to be the top kicker in the 2023 NFL Draft class with a legitimate chance of selection next April.
He’s excelled at every step of his kicking journey. At Warsaw High School, Mevis was named the Burger King Outstanding Athlete. He holds high school records, Missouri freshman records, and in his third season with the Tigers, has the most 50+ yard conversions in school history.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
With a booming leg and excellent accuracy, the “Thiccer Kicker” — in reference to his stout 5’11”, 235 pounds frame — has the goods to get the job done at the NFL level.
Although he’s had his struggles from shorter distance this year, no kicker in this class has more 50+ completions. And no one can match his 56-yard long, which he’s accomplished in two consecutive seasons.
Honorable Mention for the Top Kickers in the 2023 NFL Draft
- Zack Long, Tulsa
- Chad Ryland, Maryland
- Brayden Narveson, Western Kentucky
- Gavin Baechle, UTEP
- Daniel Gutierrez, UNLV
- Will Reichard, Alabama
- Casey Legg, West Virginia
- Jonah Dalmas, Boise State
Top Five Punters in the 2023 NFL Draft
Coming off the back of a near-historic punting class, the 2023 NFL Draft has a lot to live up to. However, it’s once again a deeply talented group of special-teams stars. Who are the premier punters with pro potential that you should be perusing?
5) Jack Browning, San Diego State
Multi-use special-teams weapon Jack Browning has the potential to place himself in consideration for selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. A one-year starter at Grossmont College before transferring to the Aztecs ahead of the 2021 season, he saw little action last fall but did score on a fake-punt attempt.
This season, Browning’s comfortably been one of San Diego State’s best players, accounting for more points than anyone else on the team. As we witnessed last season with Penn State’s Jordan Stout, multi-use specialists who can punt and kick field goals are highly valued.
Browning has nailed all 19 extra-point attempts and 80% of his field goals this fall. He’s also averaged 46.1 yards a punt with a 64-yard long while dropping almost half his punt attempts inside the 20. The San Diego State special-teams weapon adds kickoff duty to his résumé too, providing maximum versatility.
4) Michael Turk, Oklahoma
The mercurial Michael Turk returned for another crack at college football this fall and hasn’t disappointed. Will 2023 be the year we see him selected in the NFL draft?
The former Arizona State punter originally declared for the 2020 class after an astounding 2019 campaign, but despite an eye-popping bench-press performance, poor punting drills poured water on his campaign to be drafted.
However, there’s no denying Turk’s candidacy as an early frontrunner in this class. His career-long 85-yard punt is a testament to his pure leg strength. This year, Turk is averaging 45.9 yards per punt, matching his career average in the ultimate display of consistency.
Far from just a pure leg strength and no finesse prospect, Turk’s career inside the 20 average is up there with the best in the nation. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma punter’s 4.20 seconds hang time last fall ranked among the best in the nation.
3) Bryce Baringer, Michigan State
The bespectacled Bryce Baringer is undeniably one of the nation’s premier punters despite his relatively late introduction to the art. A multi-sport athlete who played soccer, golf, and basketball at Notre Dame Prep, the Michigan State man didn’t start punting until his junior season of high school.
A former walk-on, Baringer spent time at Illinois and a year away from football before establishing himself as one of the nation’s best at Michigan State.
MORE: PFN Mock Draft Simulator
Boasting a booming leg, Baringer is on pace to break his own Michigan State single-season punt average, leading the nation with an average of 50.0 yards per punt. His career-long punt of 78 yards is one of the longest of all 2023 NFL Draft-eligible punters.
Not just a strong leg, however, the Spartans standout has downed over 30% of his punts inside the 20 — both this season (43.5%) and for his career (33.3%). Baringer also displays NFL-requisite snap-to-punt and hang time.
2) Tory Taylor, Iowa
As Iowa has struggled offensively this season, punter Tory Taylor has been able to establish himself as one of the best in the 2023 NFL Draft class. Routinely the difference between the Hawkeyes winning and losing games, his effortless ability to flip field position has been crucial to keeping their heads above water in the Big Ten this fall.
When evaluating punter prospects, you want to be able to see leg strength, hang time, punt-to-snap time, and consistency — both of length and direction. Taylor hits the mark across all of these categories. His 70-yard long punt against Purdue was not only the longest of his Iowa career but also one of the biggest punts of the year.
Taylor’s 45.8-yard average speaks to his consistent ability to boom the ball. Meanwhile, his 41.8% inside the 20 percentage showcases the frequency with which he’s able to pin opponents deep in their own half. His 45.7% career inside the 20 — aided by multiple drops inside the 10 — is amongst the highest in the class.
1) Adam Korsak, Rutgers
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano has been around a lot of talented football players. While it’s his job to hype up his current crop, you better believe he’s being serious when he offers up the following assessment of Adam Korsak during the preseason Big Ten media days:
“Adam is the best punter that I’ve ever been around in 35 years. That’s a pretty big statement. I’ve been around a lot of them.”
When you flip on the tape, it’s easy to see why the field-flipping Australian is the talk of the town. Korsak might not have the highest career-punt average in the nation (43.9 YPP), but he’s insanely consistent.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Korsak’s got a noodle leg, either — his career-long is 79 yards, and he’s hit punts over 70 yards in three of five seasons in Piscataway. More impressive is his directional and positional consistency, with over half his punts (52.7%) landing inside the 20-yard line last season and 42% of his career punts pinning opponents deep in their own territory.
Honorable Mention for the Top Punters in the 2023 NFL Draft
- Lou Hedley, Miami (FL)
- Joe Doyle, Memphis
- Andy Vujnovich, Wisconsin
- Kyle Ostendorp, Arizona
- Kai Kroeger, South Carolina
- Lucas Dean, UTSA