Utah has a pair of kickers, including Aussie punter Mitch Wishnowsky and place kicker Matt Gay, at the top of 2019 NFL Draft charts.
Tracy Cole, John Baron II, and Jake Bailey are other top kicking prospects in the upcoming NFL draft. Cole made a name for himself last year with five clutch field goals during LSU’s upset of Georgia.
After a rough year for kickers during the 2018 NFL season, some teams might be shopping for a kicker in the later rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. The NFL Draft will be three days once again with the first round on Day 1 and the second and third rounds on Day 2. There are a couple of high-quality kickers available, but if anyone drafts a kicker in the first two days, they will probably lose their job and subjected to an immediate drug test.
TOP KICKERS 2019 NFL DRAFT:
Mitch Wishnowsky (Utah) P
Matt Gay (Utah) K
Tracy Cole (LSU) K
John Barron II (San Diego State) K
Justin Yoon (Notre Dame) K
Kickers like Justin Tucker are a once in a lifetime player. Tucker, the most accurate kicker in the NFL, signed a contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens to make him the highest-paid kicker in the league. If anyone has a shot at breaking any of Adam Vinatieri records, it’s certainly Tucker.
But who will become the next Justin Tucker? It’s a fine line between being a hero like Tucker and getting run out of town like Cody Parkey after a disastrous run with the Chicago Bears.
Utah, Get Me Two!
The special teams coach at Utah is totally bumming out right now. Both kicking specialists, an Aussie and a local kid from Utah, will be headed to the NFL.
Matt Gay is from Orem, Utah and he won the 2017 Lou Groza Award for the nation’s best place kicker. In 2017, Gay connected on 88 percent of his field goal attempts. He led the nation in FG that season and set a Pac-12 record with 30 FGs. During his epic All-American season, he also drilled a pair of 56-yard bombs and had four 50-plus-yarders.
Last season, Matt Gay’s longest field goal was a 55-yarder. He finished the season 26-for-31 in field goals.
Mitch Wishnowsky, originally from Australia, connected on a 68-yard punt this season. The Aussie wanted to play Aussie Rules Football for a living, but had to give up his dream after a shoulder injury ended his career prematurely. He decided to attend a camp to convert Aussie footballers to American kickers and the rest is history.
Wishnowsky, 6-foot-2, averaged 45.1 yards per punt last season. He also strategically placed 24 kicks inside the opposing 20-yard line. As a junior, he tallied a 44.0 yard average and also handled kickoff duties. After his auspicious debut during his sophomore season, Wishnowsky won the Ray Guy award for top punter in the nation. He also was a consensus All-American.
Best of the Rest: Yoon, Tracy, Baron
Cole Tracy (LSU) kicked a couple of high-pressure field goals for the Tigers in Baton Rogue. He drilled a game-winner against Auburn early in the season. Tracy impressed scouts last season when he connected on a perfect 5-for-5 during LSU’s upset of Georgia. Tracy got a lot of work with 29 field goals overall and only four misses. He also did not miss a single extra point. His career best is a 54-yard FG. Tracy also paid his dues. He started out as a Division II kicker at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. After lighting it up on the DII scene for three seasons, Tracy finally earned a scholarship to an SEC school.
Justin Yoon (Notre Dame) knocked down several big field goals for the Fighting Irish the last four seasons. After an impressive freshman season, he went 13-for-17 in field goals in his sophomore year. As a junior, he nailed 14 field goals and missed only four. Last season, Yoon went 17-for-21. His longest was only 48 yards.
John Baron II (San Diego State) drilled five 50-plus-yard field goals last season, including a 54-yarder. He thrived from longer distances with a 5-for-5 clip.