The Chicago Bears talked about exhausting all options to find a kicker, and that includes drafting one.
With the news that the Chicago Bears were letting Cody Parkey go coming at the same time that the 49ers announced the franchise tag of Robbie Gould it became apparent very quickly a kicker we have never seen before would be in Chicago next season.
When Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace talked at the NFL combine, they were asked a bevy of questions that related to the kicker position. Both admitted that they would search every corner to make this a strength of the team. That included drafting a kicker.
Drafting a kicker is an interesting can of worms. It brings the debate up of how valuable a kicker is, and how hard are they to find?
Last season 36 players attempted a field goal in the NFL. Of those only 12 were drafted. 33% of all NFL kickers were honored with a slection in the NFL draft, ranging as high as Sebastian Janikowski in the first round, to four players going in round 7. Two were taken in round 6, three in round 5, and one 4th round pick and a second round pick.
Even more interesting to note is that only five of those kickers who were drafted are still on the current team that drafted them. Mason Crosby, Harrison Butker, Stephen Gostkowski, Jason Sanders and Greg Zuerlein are the only NFL kickers to currently kick for the team that drafted them. Sanders was drafted just last year.
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Since 2011, 16 kickers were drafted, with the highest being Roberto Aguayo, who had a cup of coffee with the Nears.
Drafting a kicker has a low success rate, and most kickers do not catch on until their second team. While you could point to the Rams, and the Patriots being two teams who found a kicker, kept him and found a way to the Super Bowl last season, Justin Tucker and Adam Vinatieri are UDFA kickers. One could be looked at as the best current kicker in the NFL, the other could be the best all-time.
The fact of the matter is that there are 100 ways to skin a cat. If the right kicker is there, and they have a chance to land a Mason Crosby type talent in round six they should take it. They also have to be aware that some of the best legs are UDFA’s such as Justin Tucker.
Lastly, they have to understand that their percentages would increase with more competition. Draft one, bring in a veteran and a UDFA. Bring in one from Canada, one from the AAF, and a former rugby player and let them all compete.
It is a tough process, but it has been one that has annoyed the Bears for years. Whether they draft one or not, they have to bring in plenty of competition.