BSS K Big Board: Evaluating Kickers in the 2020 NFL Draft

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The Patriots will be looking to the 2020 NFL Draft for a new kicker since they moved on from Stephen Gostkowski earlier in the year.  Gostkowski underwent hip surgery last October which ended his 2019 season.  The injury and subsequent surgery ended his 14-year tenure with the Patriots.  The former Patriots kicker went on the Pat McAfee Show and revealed why he needed the surgery. 

“If I kept playing on it and I kept doing more and more damage on it, I was looking at being 40 and having hip replacement," Gostkowski said to McAfee.  "Getting it taken care of sooner rather than later helped prolong my active lifestyle and possibly to continue playing.” 

Who will the Patriots draft to replace the future Patriots Hall-of-Fame kicker? Let’s take a look at some of the options available to Belichick in the upcoming NFL Draft. 

  1. Rodrigo Blankenship | Georgia
Photo courtesy of TheRed&Black.com
The senior from Marietta, Georgia is the top kicker in the NFL Draft.  His thick, black-rimmed glasses are his trademark look as well as his powerful leg.  In college he made 92.7 percent of kicks under 40 yards, he has a career 82.5 percent field goal mark and a Rose Bowl record 55-yard field goal.  During his time at Georgia he had three kicks blocked and sometimes had the tendency to drive low kicks and missed a few big game kicks for the Bulldogs.  Most notably a game-tying kick in overtime loss to South Carolina and a 30-yard kick against Alabama in the 2018 SEC Championship.  NFL Draft grades have him as an 5.90 out of 8.0 as the perfect prospect.  If available the Patriots could select the best kicker in the draft.

  1. Tyler Bass | Georgia Southern
Photo courtesy of FanDuel.com
Bass is a very accurate kicker, but during his time in college didn’t have much experience with field goals beyond 50 yards.  He made the most of his time at the Senior Bowl showing off his powerful leg and the accuracy to go along with it.  He hit 93 percent of kicks from 30-50 yards last season at Georgia Southern.  He was a kickoff specialist all four years in school and could compete with Jake Bailey for that responsibility in 2020.  He’s smaller kicker; he’s 5’10 and 185 pounds, and he struggled in inclement weather and his career FG percentage was 77.4 percent.  He is expected to go on Day 3 and the Patriots could nab him in the sixth or seventh round. 

  1. Dominik Eberle | Utah State
Photo courtesy of cachevalleydaily.com

The main player from Utah State attached to the Patriots is quarterback Jordan Love, so if anyone was to bring to Dominik Eberle’s name people might think he’s someone the Boston Bruins just signed.  Take away his hockey-like name, Eberle, who is from Germany, is listed as someone with good size and decent leg strength.  The Patriots already have Jake Bailey handling kickoff duties, so Eberle will strictly need to focus only on extra points and field goals.  He had some impressive numbers in college, he made 87.5 percents of field goals in 2019 and 86.6% from 30-49 yards since 2018.  He can handle kicking in inclimate weather, which is a plus seeing as New England weather can’t make up it’s mind what season we're in by day.  A weakness that scouts have listed for Eberle is his leg strength for kickoffs and his kickoff hangtime is below average.  Projected to be a Day 3 pick, mostly in the sixth or seventh round. 

Other kickers in the NFL Draft that could wind up in New England: 
  1. JJ Molson | UCLA
  2. Sam Sloman | Miami OH
  3. Jonathan Song | TCU
  4. Matt Ammendola | Oklahoma State (keep an eye on this kid)
  5. Logan Justus | Indiana 

The Patriots have no kicker on the depth chart coming into the draft so it should be a given the Patriots will either draft a kicker or sign one as a undrafted free agent.  While low on the priority totem pole for the Patriots, they will need to find a very capable kicker because teams who lack having one lose key games - let’s cue in the Chicago Bears.  I have confidence Belichick will bring the right kid in here to New England and he will be a suitable replacement for Gostkowski, one of the best kickers in Patriots history. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: BSS K Big Board: Evaluating Kickers in the 2020 NFL Draft
BSS K Big Board: Evaluating Kickers in the 2020 NFL Draft
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