Want a good idea of how much respect kickers will get in the 2011 NFL Draft?
Danny O' Neil from the Seattle Times makes it clear in an article that purports to list the top-ranked offensive linemen AND kickers. You get a treat of five linemen and a kicker. The kicker isn't Alex Henery, it's Lou Groza Award winner Kai Forbath from UCLA, of which O' Neil states:
Won the 2010 Lou Groza award as the nation's top kicker, and made 84.1 percent of his field-goal attempts the past four years.
And here I thought that Dan Bailey of Oklahoma State won the 2010 Lou Groza Award. Maybe those Lou Groza people ought to change their web site.
84.1% sounds impressive, though, doesn't it? Yeah, sure, until you discover that Nebraska's Alex Henery's field goals percentages and national rankings were:
- 2010 - 94.7% and T2nd
- 2009 - 85.7% and T16
- 2008 - 85.7% and T10
Don't be too harsh on the Seattle Times dude, though, because his article sums up the way most people feel about kickers, that is, until they're lined up to kick a game-winner. Suddenly they're the most important people on the planet.
That's the way the NFL feels about them too - there simply aren't that many kickers and punters who are drafted.
So, what's going to happen with Alex Henery, the most accurate kicker in NCAA history? Despite being ranked as the #1 kicker, his NFL draft projection is as high as the fourth round, although I wouldn't hold my breath.
Bottom line - Henery will find a home in the NFL, and barring injury, should have a long and productive career.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.
New Era Scouting has released their 2011 NFL Draft Guide, which you can download here (It's a PDF). Also note that it does not cover kickers.