2014 Punter Rankings - Week 1
“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.
|1||Anger, Bryan||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|2||Schmidt, Colton||Buffalo Bills|
|3||Weatherford, Steve||New York Giants|
|4||Zastudil, Dave||Arizona Cardinals|
|5||Lanning, Spencer||Cleveland Browns|
|6||King, Marquette||Oakland Raiders|
|7||Locke, Jeff||Minnesota Vikings|
|8||Koenen, Michael||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|9||Quigley, Ryan||New York Jets|
|10||Fields, Brandon||Miami Dolphins|
|11||Way, Tress||Washington Redskins|
|12||Huber, Kevin||Cincinnati Bengals|
|13||Hekker, Johnny||St. Louis Rams|
|14||Lechler, Shane||Houston Texans|
|15||Nortman, Brad||Carolina Panthers|
|16||Bosher, Matt||Atlanta Falcons|
|17||Masthay, Tim||Green Bay Packers|
|18||Koch, Sam||Baltimore Ravens|
|19||Wing, Brad||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|20||Scifres, Mike||San Diego Chargers|
|21||Kern, Brett||Tennessee Titans|
|22||Morstead, Thomas||New Orleans Saints|
|23||Jones, Chris||Dallas Cowboys|
|24||McAfee, Pat||Indianapolis Colts|
|25||Colquitt, Dustin||Kansas City Chiefs|
|26||Martin, Sam||Detroit Lions|
|27||Ryan, Jon||Seattle Seahawks|
|28||O'Donnell, Pat||Chicago Bears|
|29||Jones, Donnie||Philadelphia Eagles|
|30||Allen, Ryan||New England Patriots|
|31||Colquitt, Britton||Denver Broncos|
|32||Lee, Andy||San Francisco 49ers|