Top Kickers & Punters in the 2022 NFL Draft: Cade York is as clutch as they come

LSU's Cade York and San Diego State's Matt Araiza lead the top kickers and punters in a strong special teams 2022 NFL Draft class.

Forget franchise quarterbacks. Don’t worry about wide receivers. The most important thing you’ll read ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft is this list of the top kickers and punters in the class. If you’re looking for the next Evan McPherson, you’re in the right place. From clutch kickers to powerful punters, this kicking class has the potential to be the best of all time.

Top 10 Kickers and Punters in the 2022 NFL Draft

While the 2022 NFL Draft class is rife with top punters, we start by looking at the top kickers. With so many games being decided by field goals this past season — especially in the playoffs — it’s never been more important to find the next clutch kicker. Could this group hold the answers for an NFL team?

Top 5 Kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft

Who are the top five kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft?

5) Andrew Mevis, Iowa State

Having transferred from Fordham prior to the 2021 season, Andrew Mevis made his mark on the Big 12 in just one season with Iowa State.

The 5’1”, 205-pound kicker out of Warsaw, Indiana, earned third-team All-American honors from Phil Steele. Additionally, he earned an honorable mention for the All-Big 12 team from the conference’s coaches.

Mevis put together a record-setting campaign for the Cyclones in 2021. His 10 successful field goals from 40+ yards broke new ground. Meanwhile, his 20 field goals and 15 consecutive field goals tied program records.

Successful from over 50 yards at multiple points in his career, Mevis has a powerful lower body that will get the job done in the NFL. Reportedly, he was good from 60+ yards at the Kohl’s Pro Combine. In addition to his prowess as a placekicker, the Iowa State product has also handled punt and kickoff duties for the Cyclones this season.

4) Jonathan Garibay, Texas Tech

From Santa Ana to Michoacán and ultimately to Texas Tech with several stops in between, Jonathan Garibay has traveled a winding road to be one of the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft. He spent time at Riverside Community College and on the pine for the Red Raiders. However, his 2021 season was one of the best we’ve seen.

On his way to earning first-team All-Big 12 honors, Garibay missed just 2 kicks — a field goal and an extra point. The Texas Tech kicker was perfect on kicks under 50 yards.

However, don’t be fooled by those statistics into thinking his game breaks down over 50 yards. Garibay has an incredibly strong leg, hitting a 62-yard field goal that ranks as the third-longest at the FBS level since 1988.

That kick against Iowa State was also the longest ever successful attempt in the final minute of an FBS game. The field goal sealed a win over the Cyclones, the second winning field goal of the season following a win over West Virginia. Garibay is clutch.

3) Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma

Having emerged on the scene with a perfect season in 2019, Oklahoma’s Gabe Brkic has long been considered one of the top kickers in the nation. Prior to this season, he hadn’t missed a field-goal attempt. Brkic has consistently proven that he’s got one of the strongest legs in college football, routinely booming 50+ yard attempts.

In fact, this usage in long-range situations has had a negative impact on Brkic’s overall completion statistics. In 2020, the Oklahoma kicker only had a 76.9% success rate. However, six of his field-goal attempts were from 50+ yards. Brkic made 4 of them.

Brkic’s leg strength is going to ensure that he’s one of the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft class. However, two consecutive seasons where he’s made only 76.9% of his field goals and lost his perfect extra-point record could impact his stock.

2) Nick Sciba, Wake Forest

Wake Forest kicker Nick Sciba is the epitome of consistency. While a lot of kickers see a fluctuation of accuracy during their collegiate careers, Sciba has never had a season where he’s recorded less than 80% success from his field-goal attempts. Furthermore, the Wake Forest wonder has never missed an extra-point attempt in his four-year career.

One of the top kickers in the 2022 NFL Draft, Sciba set the NCAA record for career field-goal percentage. The Wake Forest wizard hit 89.9% of his field-goal attempts. On the way to achieving that landmark, Sciba went an NCAA record 34 attempts without a miss. He’s the fastest ever player to reach the top 10 successful field goals in NCAA history.

One of the most significant barriers to Sciba’s ascension has been his usage by Wake Forest. During his career, he’s never hit a 50-yarder, with a career-long 49-yard effort in 2018. However, he showcased during the all-star game cycle that he can be accurate from downtown. Hopefully, that should alleviate any of those concerns.

1) Cade York, LSU

How do you replace a cult hero like Cole Tracy? With a cult hero like Cade York, of course.

LSU has had a remarkable run of kickers who have stepped up and delivered when needed most. Although he had a shaky start to his Tigers tenure, York has consistently demonstrated that he is the top kicker in the 2022 NFL Draft.

When evaluating kickers, completion percentage is important. But you also want to know if a kicker can come up clutch when needed. York was one of just three college kickers that hit a 50+ yard field goal in the final two minutes of a game in the 2020 season.

Is that clutch enough? York also holds the program’s field-goal-distance record. The junior kicker smashed a 57-yard field goal through the fog to give LSU a 37-34 win over Florida in 2020. In 2021, he hit all extra-point attempts while nailing a 50+ yard field goal in four separate games. Clutch, powerful, and accurate, York possesses the full package. 

Top 5 Punters in the 2022 NFL Draft

This might well be the best punting class in NFL Draft history. Of course, it’s unlikely that we see a repeat of Ray Guy’s first-round selection. However, there is plenty of talk about a Day 2 selection, and there’s the potential for multiple punters to be selected. So, who are the top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft?

5) Cameron Dicker, Texas

Although Cameron “The Kicker” Dicker may live long in Texas folklore for his Red River Rivalry game-winning field-goal kick as a freshman, he’s coming off the most statistically successful season of his career. Dicker connected on 86.7% of his field-goal attempts and missed just one extra point. He finishes his Longhorns career with the most field goals made and the most points scored at a program that produced Baltimore Ravens legend Justin Tucker.

However, this section is for the top punters, not kickers, in the 2022 NFL Draft. Assuming full-time punting duty this year, Dicker earned first-team All-Big 12 honors. The Texas punter averaged 46.8 yards per punt, downing 11 of his 47 attempts inside the 20. A career-high 77-yard punt proves he has the leg to be impactful in the NFL. Dicker’s versatility should help him secure a roster spot this summer.

4) Ryan Stonehouse, Colorado State

Colorado State’s Ryan Stonehouse has been the model of punting consistency. Before the 2021 season, Stonehouse became the first punter to be named first-team All-Mountain West in three consecutive seasons.

Only the man who leads our list of the top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft scuppered his chances of making it a clean sweep. Stonehouse finished second behind that same punter in yards per punt this season.

The Colorado State standout averaged 50.91 yards per punt in the 2021 season, and this performance is no fluke. The Colorado State punter has averaged 47.8 yards per game throughout his outstanding college career.

Against Vanderbilt, Stonehouse belted an astonishing 81-yard punt. Only one player on our list of the top punters in the 2022 NFL Draft has kicked one longer. Placement is as important as power, and Stonehouse has downed 48.2% of his punts inside the 20-yard line this season.

3) Jordan Stout, Penn State

When versatility is one of the most valuable commodities in an NFL Draft prospect, Penn State’s Jordan Stout may be the most valuable player on this list of the top kickers and punters in the 2022 NFL Draft. Punting, kickoff specialist, quarterback on fake-punt pass attempts, and field-goal kicker, Stout has done it all.

While his 64.5% field-goal success wouldn’t see him challenge the top kickers in college football, he does hold the program record with a 57-yard field goal against Pittsburgh in 2019. Stout’s also hit multiple 50+ yard field goals.

Stout heads to the 2022 NFL Draft off the back of the most successful punting campaign of his career. The Penn State product has averaged 46.0 yards per punt. Importantly, over half of his attempts this year have dropped inside the 20. Furthermore, he showcased his leg power with a 76-yard punt to open the season against Wisconsin.

2) Jake Camarda, Georgia

There’s a word that is the most important when evaluating the top punter prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. Consistency. NFL teams need to know that they can trust their punter to flip the field with impressive regularity every time they pull back their leg. Consistent ball striking, hang time, and placement are key factors in evaluation.

Georgia’s Jake Camarda is the epitome of consistency in this 2022 NFL Draft class. Over the last three years of his Georgia career, Camarda has averaged 46.8, 46.6, and 46.7 yards per punt. Like clockwork. He’s also hit a 60+ yarder in each of his four career years for the Bulldogs.

While his 68-yard career-high might seem meager compared to some of the heavy hitters on this list, Camarda had a punt travel 73 yards in the air at the Senior Bowl, demonstrating he has the leg to get the job done, alongside his consistency and ball placement.

1) Matt Araiza, San Diego State

It seems only right that sitting atop one of the best punting classes in NFL Draft history is a player coming off one of the most astonishing punting performances in college football history. You know you’ve ascended to the top of your profession when you’re more commonly known by your “Punt God” nickname than your actual name.

San Diego State’s Matt Araiza put in a historic year. He now holds the record for single-season punt average, with 51.19 yards per punt. His 39 punts of over 50 yards are a single-season NCAA record, as are his 18 punts of over 60 yards. While Pat Brady’s 99-yard punt from 1950 may never be beaten, Araiza hit two punts over 80 yards, including a nation-leading 86-yard effort.

Being able to hit the ball hard and far is one thing. However, placement and hang time are equally important.

Question marks over those elements of Araiza’s game were answered with a stupendous display of placement punting at the 2022 NFL Combine. Meanwhile, he’s routinely and consistently showcased hang times of over five seconds during offseason workouts.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

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