Field position is a huge part of a football game. A great return could set-up your offense with outstanding field position that would make it easier for your offense to put points on the board. The same goes for the punting game. A good punt allows your defense to play downhill, while tilting the field in your favor. When general manager Brian Gutekunst selected the best punter in college football, JK Scott from Alabama, with the 172nd pick in the NFL draft, it was more than a little shocking.
The Packers last drafted a punter in 2004 when then general manager Mike Sherman selected B.J. Sander in the third round. This did not turn out very well, and it probably goes down as one of the worst draft picks in Packers history as Sander ended up being a flop.
Normally, you would not even see a punter drafted as teams usually pick up an additional leg to bring into camp picking up an undrafted free agent. Scott was the second punter selected in the 2018 NFL draft. To put this in perspective, there were no punters drafted in the 2017 NFL draft. So, a divisional rival poked some fun at the Packers expense:
The @Packers just drafted a punter. We’re planning to see him on the field a lot next season 😉
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) April 28, 2018
JK Scott could actually end up being a secret weapon that most Packer fans would prefer not to talk about. Since we only talk about kickers and punters when things go wrong. Scott is the type of punter who can flip the field and he was by far the best collegiate kicker last year.
Yes, the Packers still have Justin Vogel on the roster but he was average. There was nothing special about his punts, distance or hang time. Scott has such a powerful leg that he not only has fantastic hang time on his punts but he once had a 73 yard punt in a 2015 Bowl Game. His leg is so strong that he could relieve some pressure from Mason Crosby and handle kickoff duties. This will allow Crosby to concentrate on kicking field goals.
Normally I would be extremely unhappy about the Packers wasting a pick on a punter, but in this situation I am comfortable with it. The team has not had a good punter in a while, so this provides McCarthy with the possibility of not having to worry about the punting position when there are many other worries with this team. It’s just another thing that could be taken care of years the to come.
Now all JK Scott has to do is come in and win the job from Justin Vogel and perform. Time will tell if this pick for Gutekunst turns out better than it did with Sherman. From what we have seen in his collegiate career, I would see the chances are good.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag