That’s right, the “Sleeper Sunday” segment is back! Every Sunday between now and the 2016 NFL Draft we plan to add to our Scouting Report list by strictly focusing on lesser-known prospects that the Vikings might target in 2016.
Sound a little but like we’re taking long shots? Probably so. Last year, however, our own Austin Belisle nailed a Day Three selection of linebacker Edmond Robinson. This year we’re hoping to at least double that success!
For Vikings fans that happened to catch the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, I’m hoping this first “Sunday Sleeper” is now a somewhat familiar name, because the Vikings could certainly use an upgrade at punter and Drew Kaser fits the bill.
Drew Kaser Scouting Report – P, Texas A&M
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 210 pounds
At First Glance
Ray Guy Award semifinalist each of the last three seasons. Born in Strongsville, Ohio and beat out a number of punting records at Texas A&M previously held by one of the best NFL punters of all time, Shane Lehler. 2015 second team All-American.
A strong leg is the first thing you will notice about Kaser.
Leg speed, a trait that is famously unteachable, is elite.
He is very consistent in getting valuable yardage as he averaged over 47 yards per punt twice in his college career.
Lauded for his flawless technique in the punting game.
Has an incredible knack for avoiding touchbacks through “coffin corner” kicks.
College production (46.2 yards per punt career average) places him well within top ten consideration at the professional level.
He has all of the experience you would hope from a specialist prospect. He played four years at Texas A&M (was a red shirt in 2012) and punted the ball 164 times.
Has the experience of being a holder on field goal attempts.
If you find one, let me know.
NFL Player Comparison
Shane Lechler, P, Houston Texans
With a big frame and a big leg, you don’t have to look too far back in Texas A&M’s history books to find the perfect player comparison for Kaser. He openly admits that Shane Lechler is his punting idol even as he has toppled a number of school records previously held by Lechler. Lechler has a career average of 47.5 yards per punt and has lpaced over 30% of them inside the 20 yard line.
The Vikings Slant
Vikings punter Jeff Locke’s average of 41.6 yards per punt ranked dead last in the NFL in 2015. His net yardage average of 37.8 yards ranked only slightly better (30th) which is a small testament to his hangtime production and the coverage unit fielded by the Vikings. Combine that with Locke’s abilities as a holder being called into question on a number of occasions and one can’t help but wonder if his third season in Minnesota was also his last chance.
For a team that depended so greatly on field position last season, the Vikings could certainly count punter among the easiest of positions to try and find an upgrade at. The strong legged Kaser has proven to be a weapon at times for Texas A&M and a booming punt, or a precision kick inside the two yard line like we witnessed at the Shrine Game, can make a world of difference in the way an NFL game tilts in the end.