We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
It’s rare that a punter hears his name called on draft day, but the Chicago Bears didn’t mind that at all when they selected Miami punter Pat O’Donnell in sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. O’Donnell has since beaten out fellow punter Tress Way this preseason in their position battle and will enter the 2014 campaign as the Bears’ starter.
O’Donnell brings incredible strength and versatility to the Bears at the punter position. As a high school player, he not only punted and kicked, but also played linebacker and tight end. The 6-4, 220-pound Florida native went on to attend the University of Cincinnati. During his time there, he led the nation in punts beyond 50 yards and earned first team all-Big East honors in 2011. O’Donnell graduated from Cincinnati in 2013 and transferred to the University of Miami to be closer to family. It was there that his career took a gigantic step forward.
During his senior season at Miami, O’Donnell averaged a whopping 47.1 yards per punt, good for a Hurricanes school record. He also racked up 23 punts of 50+ yards, including one for 71 yards. He was named first-team all-ACC as well as the Miami special teams MVP. O’Donnell did little to disappoint at the NFL Combine when he showed off his incredible size and strength which obviously impressed the Bears’ scouts enough to take a chance on drafting a punter. O’Donnell became the first punter drafted by the Bears since Todd Sauerbrun in 1996. He and the Bears hope that his career turns out much better than the aforementioned Sauerbrun.
Bears fans, get ready — only 16 more days until Pat O’Donnell and the rest of the crew get the 2014 season started right against the Buffalo Bills!
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th. We’re 16 days from kickoff. Are you ready???