2014 Punter Rankings – Week 1

Kevin Greenstein has your Week 1 punter rankings.

| 3 years ago

2014 Punter Rankings – Week 1

anger“They drafted him high a couple years ago,” Gruden said of Jacksonville Jaguars punter Bryan Anger during a 2014 preseason game.  “People questioned that, but when you look at the amount of punts and how good he’s punted, he was worth the pick.”

Well, it’s certainly true that Anger’s been busy during his time in Jacksonville, and he led the league in 2013 with 95 punts. Unfortunately, the quality of the pick depended not upon the frequency with which the Jags utilize Anger, but with his ability to perform at an above-average level.

While Gruden’s compliment was misguided, most of the criticism of the Anger pick is off base as well. There is a direct correlation between field position and likelihood of scoring points, with each yard having a distinct value. If Anger were far outperforming a replacement-level punter, he could actually be justifying the Jags’ choice to select him in the third round of the 2012 draft. Though it’s surely easy to look back with 20/20 hindsight and say that Russell Wilson would’ve been a far better choice given that the Jags used the third overall pick in the 2014 draft to select quarterback Blake Bortles, the reality is that Wilson probably wouldn’t be enjoying the same level of success in Jacksonville that he’s enjoyed thus far in Seattle.

Put simply, the problem here is Anger, and his thus-far subpar performance. The league average yards per attempt was 45.3, and Anger finished only slightly higher (45.7) despite regularly getting plenty of field to work with.  Only seven NFL punters had a higher percentage of their kicks returned, and while the 33 punts he dropped inside the 20 yard line were good for seventh-best, it’s important to note that he had 17 more opportunities than first-place Dave Zastudil (37). And his PFF ranking dropped from 22.0 (eighth-best) in 2012 to 8.2 (19th-best) in 2013.

Looking ahead to 2014, the Jags’ offense is still a work in progress, and Anger should be busy once again. But if he fails to make good on his enormous potential – if he fails to kick as well as he did in college and during his rookie year with the Jags – it’s safe to say that the pick wasn’t a good one.

Here are this week’s punter rankings, leveraging a combination of factors including the punter’s team’s offense, the opposing defense, and the punter’s individual ability.

1Anger, BryanJacksonville Jaguars
2Schmidt, ColtonBuffalo Bills
3Weatherford, SteveNew York Giants
4Zastudil, DaveArizona Cardinals
5Lanning, SpencerCleveland Browns
6King, MarquetteOakland Raiders
7Locke, JeffMinnesota Vikings
8Koenen, MichaelTampa Bay Buccaneers
9Quigley, RyanNew York Jets
10Fields, BrandonMiami Dolphins
11Way, TressWashington Redskins
12Huber, KevinCincinnati Bengals
13Hekker, JohnnySt. Louis Rams
14Lechler, ShaneHouston Texans
15Nortman, BradCarolina Panthers
16Bosher, MattAtlanta Falcons
17Masthay, TimGreen Bay Packers
18Koch, SamBaltimore Ravens
19Wing, BradPittsburgh Steelers
20Scifres, MikeSan Diego Chargers
21Kern, BrettTennessee Titans
22Morstead, ThomasNew Orleans Saints
23Jones, ChrisDallas Cowboys
24McAfee, PatIndianapolis Colts
25Colquitt, DustinKansas City Chiefs
26Martin, SamDetroit Lions
27Ryan, JonSeattle Seahawks
28O'Donnell, PatChicago Bears
29Jones, DonniePhiladelphia Eagles
30Allen, RyanNew England Patriots
31Colquitt, BrittonDenver Broncos
32Lee, AndySan Francisco 49ers

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