It’s fourth down and mere seconds remain. The Dallas Cowboys are down less than three points and a field goal kick away from victory. The snap. The spot. The kick…
All too often Dallas Cowboys fans have lived this sequence of events, and all too often it ended in spectacularly depressing fashion. Not since the Golden Age of the Dan Bailey era have Cowboys Nation felt confident in their kicking game.
Greg Zuerlein was supposed to offer that stability the last couple seasons. When John “Bones” Fassell came to Dallas, he supposedly brought his tried-and-true kicker with him. About the only thing that kicker has brought Dallas fans is an increase in cardiac events.
With the bulk of free agency over and little to no kicking upgrades remaining on the market, the Dallas Cowboys seem destined for another hold your breath season, curtesy of the kicking game. Unless they can pull a rabbit out of a hat and replace Zuerlein with a over-performing street free agent, chances are they’re in for more of the same in 2022.
The NFL Draft offers a solution to the Dallas Cowboys woes at kicker, but is that a wise move?
The 2022 NFL Draft is the last great hope to upgrade the kicker position. Led by prospect Cade York, there are solutions to the Dallas Cowboys problems if only they’d consider the unthinkable: Draft a kicker.
We’ve long been told you never draft a kicker in the NFL. While some exceptions have been made, conventional thinking is the value above replacement isn’t significant enough to justify a draft pick. Most kickers in the league are undrafted free agents. Why waste a resource on a position that can be comparably addressed without a single resource at all?
Timo Riske at PFF recently ran through the numbers and determined kickers aren’t quite as undraftable as we once thought. He found Day Three picks can pay off and while they don’t offer the upside of other positions they can certainly pay off in value through WAR.
Drafting a kicker with, let’s say a fifth round pick, raises the floor of that pick’s return but lowers the ceiling. Look at it like this: The top kicker in the draft stands a better chance of making an NFL roster and contributing than the fourteenth best offensive tackle, right?
But the ceiling must also be factored in because if that position player does hit in the fifth round, his WAR stands to deliver more than that of a kicker.
“Justin Tuckers” don’t grow on trees and the vast majority of kickers are indeed, replaceable. But drafting an abnormally great kicker like Cade York in the fifth round makes sense considering the likelihood he makes the team and upgrades the position.
One of the truly most average kickers in the NFL last season was none other than the Dallas Cowboys’ Greg Zuerlein. He didn’t perform over or under expectations. He was wildly average and consistently inconsistent. The Dallas Cowboys should seek his replacement and NFL Draft is a good way to do that.
The numbers don’t support using an early pick to draft a kicker but as long as scouting reports are correct on York, the fifth round is great place to do the unthinkable and draft a kicker.
- Published on 04/25/2022 at 16:01 PM
- Last updated at 04/25/2022 at 15:38 PM