The case against the Chicago Bears drafting a punter

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The Chicago Bears taking a punter in the fourth round will be a debated subject through the course of his career. If Tory Taylor ends up being a great punter, fans of the team will shout about how Ryan Poles knew and the move was worth it. If he does not pan out, this will get mocked similarly, or worse than the Adam Shaheen type of picks. 

While Taylor may be a good punter, and many supporters are saying he is so valuable that he is different than any punter in the past, the reality is that drafting a punter is usually not a good idea and is probably not sound processed by the Chicago Bears. 

The draft is a bit of a crap shoot; it is a lottery of sorts, especially in the fourth round or later. You are taking fliers on players that you hope to turn into contributors or superstars. In a sense, it is a lottery ticket for a big payoff. In drafting a punter, how big is that payoff, even if he hits his max ceiling?

Did the Chicago Bears waste a pick on Tory Taylor?

Yes, most position players in the fourth round are going to fail, or at least they will just be depth, rotational, or journeyman players. However, those can be valuable pieces in the team-building process.

We saw Ryan Poles take multiple day-three swings in his first draft. He whiffed on a few, had a few minor hits, and found a starting left tackle for the past two years in Braxton Jones. By taking a punter, they took away any chance that they could find a gem of a starter who would help them immensely if they were on a cheap rookie salary. 

They could have played the lottery to win $500 and lost, but they played to win $20 and still may lose. Why not go for the big money?

In recent history there were punters taken at pick 130 and 133 in the 2022 NFL draft. Riq Woolen, one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL, was drafted at 153. Brock Purdy, DaRon Bland, and Braxton Jones went after two punters. 

In 2019, a punter went 110. Tony Pollard, Dre Greenlaw, Darius Slayton, Andrew Van Ginkel, Hunter Renfrow, and Garnder Minshew were selected after that. In 2012, a punter went 70th overall. Russell Wilson went 75th. TY Hilton, Mike Daniels, and Kirk Cousins all went after a punter. 

So, at the time, fans of that team were saying that their punter is different, he is worth it, and nobody good was available after that punter anyways, or their GM would have known. This never happens that way, there are always players who emerge from the later rounds.

Yes, they have a better chance of hitting on a punter. No, it is not worth it because hitting on Russell Wilson, Riq Woolen, or even Dre Greenlaw in the later rounds is so valuable.