AnalysisNFL Draft 2013OpinionSpeculation

Draft Target: Ryan Allen

Last year, the Jaguars shocked everyone by selecting a punter in the third round of the NFL Draft instead of using the pick to try and find solutions for any one of their other pressing needs.  No punter had been drafted that high in over 15 years.

As a rookie, Bryan Anger was a top ten punter with an average of 47.8 yards per punt.  He had a net average of 40.8 yards per punt.  He landed an impressive 31 punts, of his 91 total, inside the opponent’s 20 yard line.  The product out of Cal may always cause Jaguar fans to twitch, since they ignored quarterback Russell Wilson while selecting him, but he certainly had a high quality rookie season.

Louisiana Tech’s punter Ryan Allen is even better.

The senior beat out Anger and others for the Ray Guy Award in 2011 and continued his dominating college career in 2012.  Last year he averaged 48 yards per punt and put on an absolute show at the Senior Bowl with a 52.4 yard average on five attempts.  Allen led the nation with a net average of 43.5 yards and placed 44% of his punts inside the 20 yard line.  He earned an All-American First Team nod for his season-long proficiency at his position, and also became the first punter ever to win the Ray Guy Award in back-to-back seasons.

So, with Chris Kluwe already on the roster, why I am listing Allen as potential target for the Vikings?

For starters, Kluwe’s value and standing has arguably taken a hit in recent seasons due to an increase of inconsistencies, as well as an increase in salary.  Off the field, Kluwe’s ventures have soured some of the fan base, and even his special teams coach has made comments suggesting that Kluwe’s antics can be exhausting.

Kluwe is now 31 years old, coming off of a surgery to repair his left meniscus, is entering the final year of his career, and is scheduled to make $1.4 million in 2013.  If the Vikings can find a way to upgrade at any position, even punter, while also saving money then they should not hesitate.

I am not saying the Vikings should use a third rounder on Allen, by any means, but I am saying that this is a kid they should keep a close eye on as day three of the Draft progresses.  After all, it was just last year that the Vikings sent a decorated veteran packing after selecting rookie kicker Blair Walsh, and it couldn’t have worked out better.

Punters are people, too!

(But, they are punters, so don’t expect a highlight reel to show up here like we would have for virtually any other player of any other position in the game of football.  Sorry.)

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. Not sure we should copy the raiders, have the best kicker(Janikowski) and punter (Lechler) for a decade.

  2. if he is still there in the buttom of the 4th round, at that point do you consider it?
    The reasoning behind jaguars selecting a punter in the 3rd round was because they knew he would be in, on every 4th offensive snap. I don’t know if we can say the same.

    1. malte, i thought that, too, that your offense must suck if you need to take a punter that high. if your offense is gonna be poor, but your defense good, then maybe you consider field position a priority and make sure your punter is excellent. priefer’s comments on kluwe might have portended kluwe’s demise

  3. Punters have decided more games than someone might first think, and a good punter can be a real effective weapon. People who treat the punting and kicking positions with the approach of picking them up off the waiver wire get exactly what they pay for. Needing a good punter doesn’t necessarily mean you plan on having a rotten offense. Some of the most critical times in a game come down to a punt, and having a waiver wire guy means you are putting the game in the hands of someone no one else wanted. I’m fine with fourth round and beyond if the quality is there.

    1. That’s just it. When you hit the 4th round it turns into a crapshoot anyway. If you can get a guy that your fairly certain will be a top 10 contributer at his position in a short period of time then you should take him. The kicking game is important, especially with a defense like ours that puts an emphasis on keeping things in front of you. The longer an offense has to go than the better off we are, so there is definitely value in having great punters and kickers on the team. I don’t know if they will need to use that high of a pick on a punter this year. Brad Wing from LSU is a redshirt Sophmore who decided to take his skills to the NFL. He’s comparable in talent but has some red flags that could push him down. The fact that you have two really good looking prospects at that position could push them both down lower than they might go if they were the lone prospects like Anger was last year. Also, as good as Walsh and Zuerlein were last year for the Vikings and Rams, the Super Bowl champs picked up Justin Tucker as an undrafted free agent and though he didn’t get the press of the two drafted kickers, he was darn near as good and hit some clutch kicks in the playoffs.

  4. Before I would say yes to Allen in the 4th round, I would want to study how many teams really need a punter. I would also look at the teams that need a punter and how deep the draft class is at punter.

    Brad Wing is also a great punter that has over a 44 yard ave. and pins 40% inside the 20. has him listed as the best punter in this draft class.

    Quinn Sharp is a talented punter with a big leg… 46.3 ave over the last 3 years… He is also a very good kicker that can kick out of the endzone. A team can kill 2 birds with 1 stone with Q Sharp.

    I hope the Vikings do thier home work and study what the other teams looking for a punter might do…

    Wing and Sharp are ranked right up with Allen on many websites.

    I would hold off until round 5 for a punter. We have 2 – 7th round picks so we could trade up and get him.