Blog Entry

Positional rankings: kickers

Posted on: July 5, 2010 3:38 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 3:58 pm
Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, this time taking a look at the top five kickers in the NFL.

D. Akers, the one kicker we agree on (Getty) Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders

4. Matt Prater, Broncos

3. David Akers, Eagles

2. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

1. Nate Kaeding, Chargers

Kickers might get less respect from fans than other position players, but hardly anybody shares the same kind of glory as a kicker after nailing a 52-yard game winner, and hardly anybody can feel the jeers after missing an easy 31-yarder that caused his team to lose.

With that, we start with Kaeding. A little bit of the shine is off him because of the three missed field goals in the 17-14 playoff loss to the Jets last year. But he’s still the most accurate kicker in NFL history (87.2 percent coming into this season). Gostkowski took over for former Patriots K Adam Vinatieri, and he made people instantly forget how good Vinatieri was for New England. Need proof? Check out this Facebook group (ignore the fact there are only 45 members).

You might be averse to 12-year veteran Akers, because people still remember his slump from 2005-07. But last year, he had one of the best seasons of his career and was the best kicker in the league. Prater has bounced around the league a bit, but he found his footing last year. You might not like my Janikowski pick. But he’s got one of the league’s strongest legs and he’s coming off the most accurate season of his career.

Andy Benoit’s top five

5. Olindo Mare, Seahawks

4. Rian Lindell, Bills

3. David Akers, Eagles

2. Ryan Longwell, Vikings

1. Rob Bironas, Titans

Regarding Kaeding being the “most accurate kicker in NFL history”, is it me or have there been about 10 different “most accurate kickers in NFL history” this era? Anyway, I can’t put Kaeding on the list for the same reason you shouldn’t.

Many people forget that Janikowski was a first-round draft pick. In that sense, he has been an underachiever. Gostkowski doesn’t have enough pressure kicks to his name yet. My first memory of Prater is when he admitted to a lack of confidence in 2008. Maybe he got his confidence back in ’09, but I will need at least three years to shake that first memory.

As for the guys on my list, I went with experience. Mare is a booming kickoff specialist - plus he made his last 21 field goals in ’09. Lindell is consistent even in the Buffalo wind (I know, I’m re-using my Brian Moorman analysis). Akers doesn’t quite have the range he once had, but he’s still reliable under pressure. Longwell was 26/28 last year. Bironas is the best long distance kicker in the game (5/6 from 50+ yards last season, range up to 60 yards).

Josh’s rebuttal

It’s surprising that we only have one kicker who made both of our lists. I thought about putting Bironas on my list, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Lindell might be consistent, but he was pretty crappy from outside 40 yards last year (58.3 percent). Could be a fluke, I suppose, because he’s normally better than that from long range. Mare has been pretty up and down in his career, but he is coming off two fantastic seasons, so I can see your point there. Even though our lists are almost completely different, it’s hard to get too worked up about it. I like my list. I like your list. Everybody’s happy.

Andy’s final word

To me, recognizing a great kicker is like recognizing a great free throw shooter. How nervous are you when a kicker lines up to attempt a game-winning field goal against your team? In a casual, unofficial way, that gives you some indication of how great a kicker is (or how great you think he is).

(Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter )

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:52 am

Positional rankings: kickers

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 1, 2012 5:34 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 7:59 pm
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:47 pm
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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:42 pm
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Since: Apr 30, 2010
Posted on: July 7, 2010 3:17 pm

Positional rankings: kickers

WTF???  Olindo Mare, I got cut by the Saints after kicking 58.8% and replaced by 475 year old John Karney followed by Garret Hartely???  Speaking of Hartely....what does the kid need to do?  Is this list only for kicker that have play for >10 years?  Where is Gould? 

Perhaps more importantly, put down (or pass along) whatever it is that you are smokin' because it's certainly impairing your judgement.

Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: July 7, 2010 2:39 pm

Positional rankings: kickers

I agree, did these writers ever play a snap of football in their life. The long kicks may look good but it doesn't matter if it doesn't go through the posts. I would take a guy that can make 95% of his kicks from 40 yrds or less anyday than a guy that can kick over 50 into the 60 yrd range but hardly make them. Gould is a automatic as they come every year he is in the league, plus he wasn't even drafted he tryed out one day since Doug Brien or whatever his name is sucks and he made the team. Gotta have Gould somewhere mentioned.

Since: Jul 7, 2010
Posted on: July 7, 2010 1:46 am

Positional rankings: kickers

cant see anybody getting better than gostkowski, guy is almost automatic, this year will see him as the best....long range and accuracy the guy just getas it done..never a problem with steve goskowski...proud to have him on the pats...

Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: July 6, 2010 9:35 pm

Positional rankings: kickers

Nate Kaeding what a laugh.  Anyway being a Chiefs fan and a Raider Hater I still give the enemy some credit here.  There isn't a kicker better than Janikowski.  It's all so close however and I would never trade Succop for any of them.  Succop may very well have the best career but right now it's still SeaBass.

Since: Jul 6, 2010
Posted on: July 6, 2010 8:36 pm

Positional rankings: kickers

bironas is the best kicker in the league. he can kick long field goals and kick them whith great accuracy. hartley has not played much but knew he had a good chance of making them FG's in the playoffs last year. gostkowski is a good FG kicker also. he can make long FG's with accruacy. he has a strong leg. in 2008 he made 36-40 and the one of them he missed was against buffalo in a snow storm. then last season he was 26-31.


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