Patriots Draft Targets: Kickers
Tonight is the night we've all been waiting for...the 2020 NFL Draft. I'm usually the type to tune in for the first and second round before monitoring the rest on Twitter. This year though, the NFL really takes center stage as the only game in town. We're all stuck at home with nothing else going on, so why not take in the whole thing? I sure will.
Anyway, it's always a spectacle and tonight will have the added intrigue of the draft being fully online for the first time ever. We'll definitely have technical difficulties and some team will screw something up big time. It's going to be awesome entertainment throughout.
As New England fans, we're usually not that into the draft. Sure, we want to get good, young players but we also have kind of known that we'll be competing for a title regardless of what our rookies do. That is not so anymore and this might be the biggest draft of Bill Belichick's career. He has to go out and make some big moves and hit on the majority of players that can come in and contribute quickly. Pats fans won't accept a loser, so let's reload right now.
I'm going to go through a few positions today with prospects that the Pats could be looking into. We're started with quarterback and tight end and now we're on to, surprisingly, kicker. The Pats let Stephen Gostkowski go this offseason and after a year in which we didn't see much of him, we've learned that kickers are actually important. They aren't plug and play guys, as most of us (including myself) kind of thought. So with nobody really out there on the free agent market, they should address that need tonight and hopefully they can find another guy that will be an all-timer like Gostkowski and Vinatieri before him (not likely but whatever). Let's take a look at the candidates.
Rodrigo Blankenship - The best part about this blog is that it's going to be short and sweet. There are only three kickers worth drafting and Rodrigo "Hot Rod" Blankenship is the easy top choice.
Blankenship spent the last four years at Georgia where he kicked in a myriad of pressure packed moments. In 2017 he banged a 51-yarder in overtime against Alabama in the National Championship that almost won the Bulldogs the title. Over his career he hit 82.4% of his field goals and never missed under 29 yards. He also never missed an extra point. His career at Georgia was filled with accolades but he'll probably be most recognized by the casual fan for the goggles he wears under his helmet. I'd love to see the Pats take him in the 6th or 7th round.
Tyler Bass - The Georgia Southern prospect might have the biggest leg of the group as he excels not only on field goals and PATs but also on kickoffs. Out of 268 career kicks, he earned a touchback on 198. Compared to Blankenship and the next guy I'm about to preview, Bass is probably the least accurate, but that's not saying much. He still hits at a high rate and would be a good pick to come in and take the job.
Dominik Eberle - Eberle kind of feels like the right combination of power and accuracy. He missed just three field goals for Utah State last year and has no trouble hitting from deep. While he doesn't have the big game experience of Blankenship, I'm confident that Eberle is on his level talent-wise.
THE PLAYER THEY SHOULD TAKE: RODRIGO BLANKENSHIP
THE PLAYER THEY WILL TAKE: DOMINIK EBERLE