Why is it so hard to find a good kicker?

Why is it so hard to find a good kicker? Each team only needs one, and every FBS college football team has one. A good kicker can easily play 15+ years in the NFL, so realistically only 2-3 NFL teams should need a kicker any given year. So there’s a pool of close to a hundred reasonable candidates and only 2-3 openings.

On top of that, frankly, the job isn’t that hard. I mean, I couldn’t do it or anything, but it’s not like being a WR or DB where you need elite measurable, or a lineman where you need to be a giant physical specimen, or a QB where you need to have the physical skills and the ability to read defenses, digest game film, etc. Kickers just need to have a strong leg, decent accuracy, and good nerves. And all those seem like really easy things to scout for, at least relatively speaking. It’s not like there’s going to be any confusion about if a potential kicker’s skills will translate to the “scheme” your team is running. There is no scheme. They just kick.

So how do we not have 32 really good kickers in the NFL?


Because at an early age the relatively good athletes don’t want to play kicker. Pee-wee football on up to HS, college, & the pro’s. Other countries they want to play soccer, rugby etc

Yea in theory it should be easy to have 32 good ones, but most kickers are unique strange birds to some extent. The talent pool seems like it should be vast, but it isn’t


Place kicking is really hard. Justin Tucker is an alien, what he does at kicker is as impressive as what any player does at any position as far as excellence. That guy should go in the hall of fame.


I mean over my lifetime, the Lions have been blessed with terrific kickers.


The pressure is also insane. Stand on the sidelines for 3 hours doing nothing and then come in to kick a ball to win or lose a game. Might be the highest pressure job in all of pro sports.


There is some good/great kickers in the BIG. Moody, Ruggles, kid from Maryland. But i dont want to waste a pick on kicker

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I don’t think you’d be wasting a draft pick if you get a stud kicker. Shit we would have won last week if we had a good kicker. We would have also beat the Steelers last year. Jason Hanson was a 2nd round pick, that worked out extremely well. I’d take a kicker in 4th round or later if he’s a stud.


And it should be really easy to identify those guys in advance. Right? I’m assuming (completely without evidence) that drafted kickers tend to have a much higher success rate than players drafted at any other position. In other words, a 4th round WR only has a 1/100 chance of being Amon-Ra St. Brown, but a 4th round kicker has about an 80% chance of being Matt Prater or whomever.

With kicker being such a critical position, why aren’t more teams drafting kickers? Or is it like @mongoose says, and there really aren’t that many good kickers out there?


FYI, this whole thread is really just an excuse for me to bring up Kickalicious again:


True, but kickers can fail pretty fast in the nfl

It’s actually insane. From 1980 - 2020, we’ve had one of the best kickers in the league (minus 2013). That’s 39 years without having to worry about a routine field goal.


And we managed to squeeze one playoff win out of it…

Maybe a good kicker doesn’t matter as much as it feels like it does. He just needs to be good enough.

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Yeah, we got the kicker dynasty, the Cheesehumpers got the quarterback dynasty.

We may have gotten the short end of that particular stick…


we had a good kicker. we cut him loose for the magic beans of a ‘longer leg’.

We typically do have around 32 really good kickers in the NFL.

And BECAUSE the NFL has so many really good kickers, people tend to look at that as baseline and the guys who are even better become the new standard. So the guys you think are “bad” typically are not bad. Its just relatively speaking, they aren’t as good as the guys who are better. It wasn’t too long ago that a 47 yard field goal was considered a pretty long kick and needed some thinking. A 50+ yard kick was a big deal. Now its expected of every kicker. The idea that a guy can’t kick over 50 yards these days gets a response of “so why do we have this guy?”

Here’s Pat McAfee’s take on why NFL kickers keep improving over time: “A big thing now is that you get a chance to go to the kicking camps that happen across the globe. Parents are sending their kids to them because there’s less danger being a kicker and there’s a chance of getting a scholarship. So you have people trying to get into these positions. Whenever you have kids starting earlier, working harder, younger, you’re going to get better.”

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We expect way too much from
Kickers these days. Years ago 80 percent was great. Now we want our kickers to make nearly every field goal. If they miss two a game they lose all their confidence and teams are quick to cut them.

Seibert is no stud but I expect him to be about average


To an extent, you can make that argument for most poistions. Why arent there 64 excellent WR’s. It all depends on your perspective – you could say that there ARE 32 excellent kickers…all of them can do things none of us can come close to doing.
The other way to look at it, is that as with most things, you’re looking at the tail of a normal distribution. In just looking at the tail, the distribution of kickers in the NFL is skewed. So, on average, the best kicker is a freak of nature, and the next best one is really good, and eventually, you start getting into the meat of the normal distribution, where there isn’t much separation between kickers. But when you compare these very good, but not best kickers, to the very best kicker, there seems to be a gap. That’s where we’re at.

Well that’s why you gotta draft the right one! Easier said than done of course.

Great point. 20 years ago it was a big deal if a kicker made a fg from beyond 50. Now it’s not only common but expected. Kicks from 40 plus yards are now routine. It isn’t that there aren’t great kickers. We all just have much higher expectations.

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Who needs kickers?