Plenty of options to draft competition for Sam Koch

samkoch

One of the wild card positions for the Baltimore Ravens heading into next week’s draft is punter.

With one punter currently on the roster, seven-year veteran Sam Koch, the Ravens may opt to add another punter through the draft to give Koch some competition in training camp.

Traditionally, teams wait until the undrafted free agent period to sign punters, but with 12 picks in the draft, the team can afford to use one on a punter so they get their guy.

Not only do the Ravens need a second punter for training camp, but also that punter could challenge Koch for his roster spot for the 2013 season.

According to Russell Street Report’s salary cap chart, Koch’s cap value for the upcoming season is $2,500,000 with a base salary of $1,900,000. That’s a pretty hefty sum for a good – but not great -punter.

If the Ravens can find a punter with the same talent as Koch through the draft, Koch’s job could be in danger as the Ravens continue to save money and clear up cap space for the future.

There likely won’t be any punters drafted before the fifth round, although last year the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted California’s Bryan Anger in the third round.

The most likely scenario for the Ravens, if they indeed decide to draft a punter, would be to use one of their seventh-round picks on one.

This year’s punter class is a rather talented one, headlined by LSU’s Brad Wing, who could be the first punter drafted and will be unavailable for the Ravens in the seventh round.

Some of the late-round options include Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen, UCLA’s Jeff Locke and Oklahoma State’s Quinn Sharp.

Allen would be the most likely candidate, as he won the Ray Guy Award, given to college football’s best punter, in 2011 and 2012. He averaged 48.0 yards per punt as a senior, which was the best average in the country.

Locke isn’t as talented as Allen, but would still be an intriguing option. He averaged 43.3 yards per punt in his senior season and also converted on two-of-three field goals.

Sharp’s stats during his senior season were much better than Locke’s as he average 46.3 yards per punt on 44 attempts, which isn’t far behind Allen’s nation-best average. Sharp’s longest punt went for 74 yards and his career long is 78.

He’s much more versatile than Allen and Locke, as he also made 28-of-34 field goals last season. The Ravens don’t need any competition at the kicker position, but it certainly can’t hurt to have that versatility on the roster.

What could help Allen, Locke and Sharp is that Koch has struggled with the distance on his punts recently. Koch’s longest punt last season was 60 yards, while Sharp’s was 74 yards, Locke’s was 64 yards and Allen’s was a mind-boggling 85 yards.

Finding another punter may not be one of the Ravens’ priorities heading into the draft, however with more than enough picks, one could certainly be used to give Koch some much needed competition.

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About Kyle Casey

Kyle Casey
Kyle's love of pro and college football stems from his passion for the Baltimore Ravens. He has held season tickets in section 542 of M&T Bank Stadium since 2004. He is currently a sophomore Mass Communications student at Towson University....more

8 Raves on “Plenty of options to draft competition for Sam Koch

  1. Dave on said:

    So what if the Ravens have 12 draft picks? That fact remains that these days, you can find pretty good kickers/punters in the undrafted free agent pool. Maybe the Ravens use a seventh round pick on a punter if there’s no one available who could help the team out. But I’d really prefer if the Ravens didn’t waste a draft pick on a guy who has virtually no chance of actually making the roster and will probably be gone after training camp.

    I’m all for bringing in competition, but I’d really prefer to find a college guy after the draft.

    • Ravensnhokies on said:

      I think the Ravens will bring in a Justin Tucker-type UDFA for comp. Like Dave said, they are not gonna waste a draft pick on a punter unless they truly want that guy to beat out Sam (which is a possibility if a ‘great’ ones falls into their laps in the 7th)

  2. Norman Karol on said:

    Spot on Kyle.
    Like any talented GM or beat writer; you always look for ways to improve and that means veiwing every position and looking under every rock to be the best.
    Thanks for bringing up the punter position. Wouldn’t surprise me “The Oz” picks a punter.

  3. HotInHere on said:

    I definitely believe they are looking at every place they can save some cap room. But I take issue with categorizing Sam as ‘good but not great.’

    He would probably be a multi-time Pro Bowler if he didn’t play in the same conference as Shane Lechler. He had a horrible postseason, but for the past four years, I don’t think you could name more than one or two other punters that have been better. Out of 32 punters in the league, I’d say that’s better than good.

    • Mike on said:

      God article. Doesnt Kochs contract make him basically difficult to cut. He pointed poorly in the payoffs, specifically in Denver and the Super Bowl.

    • Rumor Ray on said:

      HotInHere I agree I also took issue with the poor categorizing of Sam as good. Out of 32 punters I would say Sam is in the top 5.

      Kyle, The real issues with Punters and Long Snappers is the the longer they are on the team the more they money they make and thus it is almost always a change to save cap. I would not see the Ravens looking to change into the kicking unit this season since they preformed very well last year and Sam is the Vet of the unit. I could see that change coming in 2014 or 2015 so adding a Punter to the practice squad could be an option.

  4. Ravenwoman on said:

    Great analysis. This would be a good area for the Ravens to save money, particularly if they wanted to keep Vonta Leach. In fact, I will predict that the Ravens will either sign an undrafted free agent punter/draft one and also draft a fullback. Anything to save money. The 80/20 rule is definitely in effect.

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