LA Rams 2022 NFL Draft Big Board for punters? Yes, punters

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams Draft
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

When the LA Rams released veteran punter Johnny Hekker, it was clear that the team needed to free up some of the fairly high compensation that he was due to make in 2022. But the team has known about his salary situation for some time. In fact, the team held an open competition between Hekker and veteran P Corey Bojorquez last year.

While it appeared that Bojorquez won the competition, the team used that to their advantage to leverage $2 million in concessions from Hekker over two years and subsequently traded Bojorquez to the Green Bay Packers for next to nothing.

While Hekker did not do well in his gross punt ranking in the NFL for 2021, he did much better when ranked by net punting. After all of the activity in 2021 that resulted in Hekker returning for one more season, why didn’t the LA Rams negotiate a bit more aggressively last season to free up enough cap space over 2021 and 2022 that would have allowed the team to stick with Hekker this year?

Drafting a punter? Just for kicks

Perhaps it was more than just a salary cap issue?  While punters have up years and down years, Hekker’s 2021 average at yards per punt was the lowest of his ten-year career. And it is the third season of decline in that number. Whatever else the LA Rams seem to do well, the team seems to know (within a year or two) when it is time to part ways with an NFL player.

While I cringe whenever the team uses a draft pick for a kicker, punter, long snapper, and sometimes even for a late-round quarterback, this year I see no way around it. The LA Rams only have late-round draft picks, and currently do not have a punter.  Nor do the actions of the team suggest that they will try to sign a priority free agent punter after the draft.

light. Related Story. Los Angeles Rams: 15 best first-round draft picks of all-time

Rather, the team will likely draft their punter, and the 2022 Draft class is as good as any when it comes to doing so. In fact, the LA Rams likely have options in Rounds 5, 6, and 7 this year. Of course, if they fail to draft one, there should be a solid handful of options to sign after the draft as well. Who are they? Let’s begin: