After the trade for Tyreek Hill and trading away DeVante Parker this off-season, Miami has a 3rd, 4th and two 7th round picks in the 2022 NFL draft. While all the new free agency signings fill Miami’s significant holes on the roster, there’s one glaring hole that Miami needs to address; Punter.
The punter position is an underrated position in football that can be utilized to flip field position and support your defense. The punter gives yardage cushion to the defense, allowing them more space to get stops. An effective punt can pin an opposing team deep, creating potential safety situations and giving potential field advantages. The problem is Miami doesn’t have this.
The potential unseen yardage swing when you have a good punter can be the difference in a couple of possessions that a team may have.
The best example of this is the Tennessee game this past year, where the weather was not ideal and a game based on field position. In that game, Michael Palardy averaged 36.8 yards per punt. A good average yard per punt sits around 45. That’s almost one full three-down set. Compare it to the opposing punter for the Titans, Brett Kern, who averaged 44.3 yards per punt. That’s a 7.5-yard difference in yardage needed to travel to score. Even in total yardage, Palardy (147 yards), Kern (177 yards), and the Dolphins were out punted by 30 yards on the same amount of punt attempts (4). There’s an argument that part of Miami’s 34-3 loss was lost in the field position battle.
Matt Araiza’s availability in the upcoming draft offers a chance for Miami to strengthen the punter position and secure better field position overall on defense and offense. Last season at San Diego State University, Matt Araiza averaged 51.2 yards per punt. Michael Palardy’s season average for yards per punt rested at 44.7, slightly below average.
Some scouting reports offered by NFL.com state:
• Had 18 punts of 60 yards or more/ 2 punts of 80 yards.
• Elite field flipping talent.
• Net average of 50 yards on open field punts
• Punting style creates strong forward bounce if not caught
Typically it is uncommon to draft a kicker/punter. However, when a guy like Matt Araiza is available, and you’re in a position to draft the best available, it’s worth spending a pick to secure your kicker/punter. The sky is the limit with Matt Araiza’s potential, and although one never wants to waste picks, it’s always worth taking a chance on potential.