It's that time of the year again. Mile High Report begins our annual 90 players in 90 days roster breakdown. Last year went fairly well, but starting today and through August 27th, we'll break down every player on the Denver Broncos roster.
Name: Riley Dixon
Height: 6'4" Weight: 221
Age: 22 Experience: R
The Denver Broncos selected former Syracuse punter Riley Dixon in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Dixon played four years at Syracuse and put up some solid numbers while there. During his four-year career, Dixon punted 218 times for 9,291 yards. That's an average of 42.6 yards per punt.
Dixon also totaled five rushing attempts for 54 yards during his career. So he has some experience with punt fakes.
This past season Dixon totaled 65 punts for 2,839 yards. That's an average of 43.7 yards per punt which was a career high for him at Syracuse. He also totaled 3 rushes for 29 yards last season as well.
Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway said they decided to draft Dixon with their final pick in the 2016 NFL Draft because they weren't positive he would last.
"We wanted to bring him in for competition. Obviously we knew we’d have Britton Colquitt but I was looking at the board and we didn’t want to risk losing him. There was still a long way until the end of the draft and we thought he was a really good punter, so we thought we didn’t want to risk losing him. So he’ll come in and compete."
As Elway said, Dixon will have to compete for a roster spot with veteran punter Britton Colquitt. This is one of the more underrated camp battles to watch this summer, but it should be a good one.
Dixon can really hang the ball up in the air.
NFL.com's draft profile on Dixon had this to say about his hang time/touchback stats at Syracuse.
Forced a whopping 40.8 percent (2014) and 42.4 percent (2015) fair catches over his last two seasons.
Another interesting stat came from MHR's own Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann's piece on Dixon back in May. She chatted with Sean Keeley of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and he said that Dixon will be a real asset for the Broncos going forward.
MHR - This position is often overlooked by fans - even teammates - until field position becomes crucial. One of Dixon's strengths has been noted as his hang time. Do you think he can be the kind of punter to really help out our defense with hang time and ball placement?
Sean Keeley - 100 percent. In the last three seasons he booted 50 kicks over 50 yards and forced a fair catch on 88 punts (out of 215). If nothing else, he's got the ability to put the ball up there and give the Broncos a chance to shut down returns while also taking a sizable chunk out of the field.
Another thing that Dixon can do is run the football.
As I said prior, he has 5 career rushes which I believe are all included in the video. He's also 6'4" and 221lb so he isn't the easiest guy to bring down either.
Dixon has the skill set to be an effective punter in the NFL. Also, playing half of our games at Mile High will only help out any kicker.
One last thing that's a positive for Dixon is his price tag. Colquitt has a $4 million dollar cap hit this year, but would cost $750,000 if they decided to cut him.
He doesn't have the strongest leg and played in a dome at Syracuse, but good enough to make it in the NFL. Also, like I just said, playing at Mile High will always help out a kicker/punter.
The only other thing I have is that he is competing against a veteran punter who has been serviable during his career. Colquitt was effective during the postseason and helped the Broncos win the field position battle.
That's about it. I can only say so much about a punter.
I think I've just always appreciated the way he's handled himself. He became a bit of a folk hero at Syracuse due to how good he is and his run/pass fakes, but he always remained appreciative of the support without ever losing his humble nature. It was a pleasure to root for him at Syracuse, and now we hope to root for him in Denver.
Ultimately it will come down to camp and the preseason. Whoever looks the best will win the job.
Now with that said, I believe if a team drafts a punter no matter the round, they must think he is good enough to make the team that year. I mean if the Broncos were just looking for a camp leg to compete with Colquitt, they could have easily signed a UDFA or two without wasting a draft pick.
So I think spending a draft pick, even a 7th rounder shows that the Broncos feel good about Dixon's chances of making the team.