FanPost

Cub Scouting with tjwGOblue: Kicking to the Future

What's up Lions fans? Welcome to my first Cub Scouting with tjwGOblue miniseries. College football is winding down which can only mean that the 2014 NFL draft is right around the corner (but not really, more like a mall putting Christmas decorations up in October). ESPN and other networks will call in their "experts" to begin giving NFL fans false hope about certain players. Allow me to start that process of false-hopery!

Let me start by saying that I am not an NFL scout and won't pretend to be. I don't sit and analyze game tape and most likely won't have any cool graphics like the ones Mr. Reisman and Mr. Tomke provide. I'm just a big college football fan and love following guys into the pros to see how they pan out. My goal is to provide names, stats and "expert" analysis for fans that don't follow the college game closely but are interested in whom might make an impact at the pro level.

I originally planned to start this after the conference championship games and closer to the bowl games but recently here on Pride of Detroit, the kicker position has been up for hot debate. David Akers has underperformed and hopefully will not be offered a second contract with our beloved Lions. So let us get started with kicking prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft;

Cairo Santos, 5'8" 160lbs, Tulane

Quick Bio: Originally from Brazil but went to high school in Florida on an exchange program. Recruited as a kicker and started as a true freshman for Tulane.

Career Stats:

Year

Games

FG/Att

Pct

Long

PAT/Att

Pct

Pts

2010

12

13-16

.812

39

32-33

.969

71

2011

13

11-18

.611

49

33-34

.971

66

2012

12

21-21

1.000

57

26-27

.963

89

2013

12

16-22

.727

56

35-35

1.000

83

Accolades: 2010 Conference USA All-Freshman Team, 2012 Lou Groza Award winner (given to the nation's best collegiate placekicker), 2012 consensus All-American, 2012 first team All-C-USA, 2013 Lou Groza Award semifinalist.

"Expert" Analysis: Other than the Brazilian sex appeal Santos would provide to the team, this kid can really boot the ball. Clearly the Tulane coaching staff trusts Santos when it comes to 50+ kicks having attempted 8 in the past two years while hitting half of those. While he did have a down year in 2013 in terms of FG%, he attempted a career high 35 PATs and was perfect. Considered by most "experts" to be the best kicking prospect in the nation.

Chris Boswell, 6'2" 200lbs, Rice

Quick Bio: From the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Was selected to play in the 2009 US Army All-American bowl and was the fifth ranked kicker in his recruiting class. He redshirted his freshman year at Rice.

Career Stats:

Year

Games

FG/Att

Pct

Long

PAT/Att

Pct

Pts

2010

12

11-17

.647

50

41-44

.932

74

2011

12

17-21

.810

54

31-32

.969

82

2012

13

23-29

.793

57

45-47

.957

114

2013

12

14-21

.667

56

41-42

.976

83

Accolades: 2010 Conference USA All-Freshman Team, 2011 Lou Groza Award semi-finalist, 2011 coaches honorable mention All-Conference C-USA team, 2014 Senior Bowl invitee.

"Expert" Analysis: Everything is bigger in Texas, including their kickers. Boswell has attempted 21 FGs of 50+ yards for his collegiate career. He has hit 13 of those 21. While his FG% is not impressive, his PAT% is solid. Also, remember that Blair Walsh only went 21 of 35 his senior year and has turned out to be a pretty good pro.

Chandler Catanzaro, 6'3" 195lbs, Clemson

Quick Bio: From Greenville, South Carolina. Was a walk-on but redshirted his freshman year. Two time Class A High School Special Teams Player of the Year in South Carolina. Nicknamed the "Cat Man."

Career Stats:

Year

Games

FG/Att

Pct

Long

PAT/Att

Pct

Pts

2010

13

14-22

.636

48

34-34

1.000

76

2011

13

22-27

.815

47

52-53

.981

118

2012

13

18-19

.947

50

57-59

.966

111

2013

12

13-14

.929

51

56-56

1.000

95

Accolades: 2011 & 2012 Lou Groza Award semi-finalist, 2011 & 2012 second-team All-ACC, 2013 preseason All-ACC team.

"Expert" Analysis: A somewhat rough start to his career but Catanzaro has improved every season since. My only knock on him is his lack of 50+ FG attempts but he is a perfect 2-2 on those for his career. Clemson has had a high powered offense all four years of Catanzaro's career, and he has been able to keep up having only missed 3 PATs out of 202 attempts. He reminds me of a Stephen Gostkowski type kicker; not necessarily the biggest boot but nearly automatic from 45 yards or less. Plus his nickname is appropriate for the Lions.

Zach Hocker, 6'0" 184lbs, Arkansas

Quick Bio: From Russellville, Arkansas. Was recruited by Hawaii, Arkansas State, Memphis and North Carolina before ultimately choosing Arkansas. In high school he earned All-State honors as a senior in 2009 and actually won Defensive Player of the Year from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette the same year.

Career Stats:

Year

Games

FG/Att

Pct

Long

PAT/Att

Pct

Pts

2010

13

16-19

.842

51

56-56

1.000

104

2011

12

21-27

.778

50

55-57

.964

118

2012

12

11-18

.611

46

32-32

1.000

65

2013

12

13-15

.867

54

28-28

1.000

67

Accolades: 2010 SEC All-Freshman team, also holder of various SEC and Arkansas kicking records.

"Expert" Analysis: Overall a pretty consistent collegiate kicker in arguably the toughest conference. He has only attempted seven FGs of 50+ but has made five of them. He has attempted a career high four 50+ FGs this year and making three of them. Nothing screams exciting about Hocker but it is hard to argue against both his consistency and production.

Jeff Budzien, 5'11" 165lbs, Northwestern

Quick Bio: From Hartland, Wisconsin. Selected as team captain his senior year in high school. Two time AP All-State high school selection. Was the 7th ranked recruit out of Wisconsin his senior year. Red shirted in 2009. In a Northwestern Q&A he was asked what starring role in an already made movie would he like to star in and answered, "Easy, Maverick in Top Gun." Like your style, sir.

Career Stats:

Year

Games

FG/Att

Pct

Long

PAT/Att

Pct

Pts

2010

1

0-0

.000

0

1-1

1.000

1

2011

12

6-10

.600

47

50-50

1.000

68

2012

12

19-20

.950

44

50-50

1.000

107

2013

12

23-25

.920

43

35-35

1.000

104

Accolades: 2012 Co-Big Ten Kicker of the Year, 2012 All-Big Ten team, 2012 & 2013 Lou Groza Award semifinalist .

"Expert" Analysis: Budzien had a slow start to his career but has really improved the past two seasons. He leads the nation in FGs made but has only ever attempted one field goal of 50+ and missed it. Overall, we're sort of at the bottom of the barrel in terms of kicking prospects but Budzien hasn't missed a single PAT in his career. Another Stephen Gostkowski type kicker but I'd say nothing more than a camp body.

So what say you, Lions fans? Kickers aren't the easiest of prospects to research but has anyone caught your eye that I might have missed? Let college prospect and mock season begin!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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