Phil Emery is like that guy in your fantasy draft who drafts a kicker in the 6th round. Does every team need a kicker? Of course, but if you’re taking one in your fantasy draft you’re a sucker. Phil Emery pulled off the equivalent by selecting putner Pat O’Donnell out of the University of Miami. Drafting a punter is a complete waste of time, even if he becomes a perennial Pro Bowler. I know that a sixth round pick could be a longshot to make the team, but with so many needs on defense or the need for a slot receiver, another tight end or more depth on the offensive line, you have to scratch your head on this pick.
Here’s a clip from NFL.com on the first specialist taken in the draft:
Was a three-year letterwinner in track and football as a Florida prep. Began his collegiate career at Cincinnati and punted in three games in 2009, recording seven punts for a 37.9-yard average with a long of 50 and two punts inside the 20-yard line, before redshirting with an undisclosed injury. Booted 52.41.9-L61-16 in ’10. Was a first-team All-Big East selection in ’11 after logging 63-43.8-L76-26 punting and 61 kickoffs for a 64.2-yard average and seven touchbacks. In ’12, booted 59-41.8-L65-23 and 75-63.4-36 on kickoffs. Graduated from Cincinnati and transferred to Miami (Fla.) for his final season in ’13. Set the Hurricanes’ single-season record with a 47.1-yard-per-punt average after recording 53-47.1-L71-19 and 79-63.1-37 on kickoffs. Was also the holder on field goals and extra point attempts. Did 23 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine — more than six tight ends, 19 running backs, 21 defensive linemen and all 37 wide receivers.
Very good leg strength to drive the ball. Experienced four-year starter. Handles kickoffs and served as the holder on PATs. Dedicated to his craft and the game is important to him.
Inconsistent hang time. Can improve placement and accuracy. Average athlete. Overly analytical and outthinks the game. Could stand to hone his mental toughness and learn to handle pressure.
The Bears sent punter Adam Podlesh packing after the season, but it’s hard to imagine they couldn’t pick up a punter as an undrafted free agent. They also have Tress Way and Drew Butler (Kevin Butler’s son) on their roster. Unless O’Donnell is an onsides kick specialist, this pick leaves me