Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Top 10 punters, kickers in the 2016 NFL draft

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Here are the top 5 punting and kicking  prospects (with projected draft round) for the 2016 NFL draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday in Chicago:


1. Tom Hackett, 5-10 1/2, 198, Utah (fifth round): A native of Australia where he played two years of Aussie Rules Football at a boarding school before joining the Utes. Led the nation in net punting at 43.7 yards per punt. Won the Ray Guy award, which goes to the nation’s top punter, for the second straight season.

2. Drew Kaser, 6-1 7/8, 206, Texas A&M (sixth):  He averaged 47.4 yards per punt last season. He didn’t have any of his punts blocked over his career.

3. Riley Dixon, 6-4 ¼, 221, Syracuse (sixth): He averaged 43.7 yards on 60 punts last season. He forced 28 fair catches and placed 28 punts down inside the 20-yard line. He had just five touchbacks.

4. Lachan Edwards, 6-4 1/8, 209,  Sam Houston State (free agent): He’s from Australia and played Aussie Rules football, rugby, cricket and ran track. He averaged 41.5 yards on 74 punts last season.

5. Will Monday, 6-3 ¾, 212, Duke (free agent): He played at Flowery Branch High before attending Duke. He averaged 43.5 yards on 65 punts last season. He forced 20 fair catches and placed 31 punts down inside the 20-yard line. He also served as a holder for kicks. Here's a Q&A with Monday from the scouting combine.


1. Roberto  Aguayo, 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, Florida State (fifth/sixth round): The most-heralded kicker to enter the draft in years. He finished his career as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. His value has increased with the NFL’s move to longer extra points. He’s deadly accurate from inside of 40 yards. Aguayo could become the first kicker in a decade to be drafted in the first three rounds. The Jets took Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent in the second round of the 2005 draft.

2. Ross Martin, 5-9, 183, Duke (sixth):  Made a Duke single-season record 26 field goals last season.  He also finished the 2015 campaign with a school single-season record 120 total points. Martin was a four-time all-ACC pick and three-time honorable mention all-American. He made 78 of 93 field goals over his 53-game career and 196 of 197 extra points.

3. Ka’imi Fairbairn, 5-11, 183, UCLA (sixth): He made a 60-yard field goal last season and won the Lou Groza award as the nation’s top kicker. He finished his career at the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer (413 points).

4. Brad Craddock, 6-0, 186, Maryland (free agent): Part of the Australian invasion. He can also handle kickoffs.

5. Marshall Koehn, 6-1 3/8, 197, Iowa (free agent): Handled kickoff duties and field goal chores for the Hawkeyes. He made 16 of 20 field goals with a long of 57 yards.

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The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter gives his top players for the Falcons to draft at #17, talks about the interest in LB Myles Jack & tells CineSport’s Noah Coslov where the team may go in round 2.


Sunday, April 17 -- QUARTERBACKS

Rams quest for franchise quarterback behind big trade --Wentz or Goff?

D. Led’s breakdown of the Quarterbacks

A look at the top 10 Quarterbacks in the draft


D Led’s breakdown of the Running backs -- Is Derrick Henry the next Charles Muncie?

A look at the top 10 Running backs


D. Led’s breakdown of the Wide receivers

A look at the top 10 Wide receivers

Wednesday -- TIGHT ENDS

D. Led’s breakdown of the Tight ends

A look at the top 10 tight ends


D. Led’s breakdown of the Offensive linemen

A look at the top 10 offensive linemen


D. Led’s breakdown of the Defensive linemen

A look at the top 10 defensive linemen 

Saturday, April 23 -- LINEBACKERS

Falcons searching for hybrid linebacker/safeties

D. Led’s breakdown of the Linebackers

A look at the top 10 linebackers

Sunday, April 24 -- CORNERBACKS

D. Led’s breakdown of the cornerbacks

A look at the top 10 cornerbacks

Monday, April 25 -- SAFETIES

D. Led’s breakdown of the Safeties

A look at the top 10 Safeties

Tuesday, April 26

D. Led’s breakdown of the Specialists, kickers, punters and returners

A look at the top 5 punters and top 5 kickers

Wednesday, April 27

Final mock draft

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.