FanPost

Punters And Kickers Get The Boot!

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via www.bestsportsphotos.com Jason Elam, Denver's greatest kicker of all time.

The NFL has to give these guys the boot to get rid of them! They refuse to retire, and why should they? They can generally avoid all contact throughout their career, and if they are smart they will make a point of doing that.

The best kickers take Chlorofluorocarbon intravenously before every 4th quarter, and just before every play off game! They have to! It's a job requirement.

Over the past 40 years, the Broncos have had 6 kickers, and the last two represent half of that time period. Jason Elam played for 17 years, and all but the last two were for Denver. He only missed 4 extra point tries in his entire 17 year career, 1 a year for four different years here and there. I think that Matt Prater may be the next one to have a shot at beating Jason's record, but keeping him is a must for that to happen.

The 5 all time Bronco scoring leaders, in their proper order are, Jason Elam (1,786 points), Jim Turner (742 points) Rich Karlis (655 points), David Treadwell (429 points) & finally we get a non kicker in receiver Rod Smith with 428 points, just 1 point shy of Treadwell's total. Matt Prater is quickly moving up the list and is just 10 field goals and an extra point short of passing Treadwell, and he is still 29 games shy of Treadwell's career total.

How do these five kickers compare with one another in the percentage game?

Name...........................FG%...........XP%......# Games Played

Jason Elam..................80.7............99.4...............263
Jim Turner....................62.3............95.9...............228
Rich Karlis...................72.0............96.3...............120
David Treadwell...........77.1............96.8.................93
Matt Prater..................78.4............98.5.................64

Our Kickers: Jim Turner (1971-1979 /9y), Fred Steinfort (3y), Rich Karlis (1982-1988 /7y), David Treadwell (1989-1992 /4y), Jason Elam (1993-2007 /15y) & Matt Prater (2007 - 2011 /5y).

Since Billy Van Heusen started punting for the Broncos in 1968, no other punter has been able to match his 9 years with the team, except Tom Rouen, and Tom grabbed two Super Bowl rings in the process! But the real question on my mind is, could Britton Colquitt turn into another Bronco's UDFA star? His numbers so far certainly indicate that.

Britton Colquitt's 46.1 yard/punt average is just 0.4 yards shy of Tom Rouen's best year. Tom averaged 43.9 y/p while with Denver, but last year, Britton's 2nd year here, he averaged 47.4 y/p. By comparison, Billy Van Heusen averaged 41.7 y/p.

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via 1.bp.blogspot.com

Our Punters: Billy Van Heusen (1968 - 1976 / 9y), Norris Weese (4y), Bucky Dilts (2y), Luke Prestridge (5y), Chris Norman (3y), Jack Weil (1y), Tom Rouen (1993 - 2001 / 9y), Micah Knorr (2y), Paul Ernster (2y), Todd Sauerbrun (1y), and Brett Kern (1y), Mitch Berger (1y), and Britton Colquitt (2y).

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via t2.gstatic.com Look out! It's a trick play! Tom Rouen throwing a pass instead of booting a punt.

Ladies and gentlemen, this seems like pretty good special teams news for us. As long as these two guys keep improving, and the front office recognizes their value enough to keep them around, then we should be set at those two spots for some time to come. They are still very young as their positions go. Matt is 27 and Britton is 26.

John Kasay (age 42), kicker for the New Orleans Saints last year, was the oldest current player in the NFL, and still retains his roster spot with the Saints for the 2012 season. Twenty years is what Jerry Rice accomplished as a wide receiver, but we all know that there is no comparison between the two position's physical requirements.

Kasay hit his 400th field goal on December 6, 2009 in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Only six other players have accomplished that, and Denver's Jason Elam is one of them with 436 for his career. It just took Kasay a couple of years more than it took Jason to get it done!

Twenty one years is a long time in the league at any position when you consider the players who have come and gone that wanted the job. John Kasay's consistency is what keeps him working. He's averaged 81.9% completion on field goals and 98.2% on extra points over his career, but considering that he hit 90.3% (FGs) and 100% (extra points) just four years ago shows he still has "it". (Lets just hope he doesn't OD on Freon!)

The draft changed dramatically when teams no longer had 5 extra rounds to waste picks on. Now the UDFA's have taken over that area. An unusually large number of punters and kickers were selected, tried out and cut prior to the seven round draft, and the 1991 draft is a prime example of that.

Two kickers and three punters were selected that year, and all but John Kasay were cut in camp. In 1996 only a punter was selected and he was cut in camp, and then in 1998 there wasn't even one player selected in either category. You can be certain that given 5 more rounds at least one punter or kicker would have gotten picked.

This first table shows the rate at which punters and kickers get cut in training camp based upon the round in which they are selected. We will skip on down from the year that John Kasay was drafted to 1997, the first year of the 7 round draft where we still find an active player. A total of 47 players were selected during this 15 year draft period. (24 kickers and 23 punters)

Round......Qty Selected.....CUT in Camp

1st....................01....................00
2nd...................01....................00
3rd....................06....................00
4th....................09....................00
5th....................06....................02 (33%)
6th....................13....................01 (08%)
7th....................11....................01 (09%)

Only 9% of the 47 got cut in camp, and that is a big change from the old days.

This table shows the break down of this group based upon the number of years they've played. (47 total players selected.) If you can make it to your fifth year as a punter or kicker, you have a great chance at a long career.

Years Played......# of Players.....% of total

00 year........................04..................09%
01 year........................05..................11%
02 year........................03..................06%
03 year........................03..................06%
04 year........................02..................04%
05 year........................05..................09% (05 still active)
06 year........................03..................06% (02 still active)
07 year........................05..................09% (04 still active)
08 year........................04..................09% (04 still active)
09 year........................02..................04% (02 still active)
10 year........................02..................04% (01 still active)
11 year........................01..................02% (01 still active)
12 year........................06..................13% (03 still active)
13 year........................00..................00% (00 still active)
14 year........................00..................00% (00 still active)
15 year........................01..................02% (01 still active)

The 00 - 04 has 17 players, 36%, who are out of the league, and the 05 - 09 group of 19 players is another 40%. Only two (11%) of the players from the 5 - 9 year group are no longer playing. This nine year group (36 players) represents 76% of the total drafted.

Next is the AVGY (average number of years played) broken down based upon the round of the draft.

Round.....# Drafted......%@ 5+years......%@ 8+years.....%@ 11+years...........AVGY

1st.................01...............(01) 100%...........(01) 100%..........(01) 100%.............12 years (12 total years)
2nd................01...............(01) 100%...........(00).. 00%..........(00).. 00%.............7.0 years (07 total years)
3rd.................06...............(05).. 83%...........(03).. 50%..........(01).. 17%.............8.2 years (49 total years)
4th.................09...............(06).. 67%...........(03).. 33%..........(02).. 22%.............6.3 years (57 total years)
5th.................06...............(04).. 67%...........(03).. 50%..........(01).. 17%.............5.0 years (30 total years)
6th.................13...............(08).. 62%...........(02).. 15%..........(01).. 08%.............4.8 years (62 total years)
7th.................11...............(05).. 45%...........(04).. 36%..........(02).. 18%.............3.3 years (36 total years)

If it hadn't been for one 1st round pick, Sebastian Janikowski (2000), and one 2nd rounder, Mike Nugent (2005), this group wouldn't look that much different than the other positions. The fact that there are so few punters and kickers drafted makes it a lot different from all the rest. This has always been a strange group of players by comparison to every other position, and they have always seemed like they are on loan from the World Football League. (Soccer)

Below is the list of guys who have lasted ten or more years and were still on a roster in 2011, giving the round selected, name, position and number of years played.

1991

4 John Kasay, K 21y

1992

2 Jason Hanson, K 20y

1997

3 Brad Maynard, P 15y

2000

1 Sebastian Janikowski, K 12y
5 Shane Lechler, P 12y
6 Neil Rackers, K 12y

2001

4 Nick Harris, P 11y (Originally selected by Denver)

2002

4 Dave Zastudil, P 10y

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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