UDFA I: Punter
It was clear to almost everyone that the LA Rams would be looking to add a punter during or after the 2022 NFL Draft. But the addition of 6-foot-1 220-pound Texas PK/P Cameron Dicker was a bit of a mild surprise. The Rams had plenty of options during the draft. But the most lauded punter, Penn State’s Jordan Stout, came off the board with the 25th pick of Round 4. That was before the Rams made their second selection in the draft.
What does the team need for this position?
The LA Rams released veteran punter Johnny Hekker. To replace him, the Rams are looking for a punter who can achieve solid hangtime, punt the ball for better than average distance, can aim the ball out of bounds within the 20 and 10-yard lines, and finally, hold the football well for the field goal kicker. The Rams signed veteran Riley Dixon, so the team set up a competition for the starting punter role for 2022.
What does this rookie deliver?
While a surprising addition, Dicker was a highly and rapidly effective college punter who competed as a Ray Guy semi-finalist despite punting less than two college seasons. He has a natural ability, punting 47 times for 2,200 yards, 21 fair catches, and punting 11 times within the 20-yard line. Imagine how effective he might be when he focuses entirely on punting?
He also brings the ability to serve as an emergency placekicker should the Rams need one.
Who else was available? The first name that jumped off the page was Colorado State’s punter Ryan Stonehouse, who some argued may have been the best punter available from this draft class.
Of course, not everyone agreed that Stonehouse was among the best punters in the class. Another punter who was still on the board was Tulane punter Ryan Wright. Wright combined wonderful hang time with dependable distance as well. As an added bonus, he was a high school quarterback who was quite capable of faking the punt and completing a pass downfield.
Instant reaction: Still trying to digest this one. The LA Rams knew who was available and chose Dicker. So this one is blind faith that the team knows what they are doing
Draft Grade: B-. The Rams appeared to pull a rabbit out of a hat with this addition. But there is that small detail that Dicker has almost no experience in taking the snap and setting the football up for the kicker. That is a huge part of the NFL role for the punter. So we’ll see.