Rams Roster: Fast 40+ Rams roster roundup: K Christopher Dunn (#31)

Christopher Dunn NC State
Christopher Dunn NC State / Lance King/GettyImages

There is no dancing around this one. When the LA Rams allowed kicker Matt Gay to sign elsewhere, the team committed to open competition for their starting kicker role for the 2023 NFL season. The team wanted to ensure that they would land a quality punter, so the Rams drafted Wingate puter Ethan Evans. But the team was willing to roll the dice when it came to a new kicker this season.

I don't want to jinx anything, but it was a strategy that resulted in two quality kickers ending up on the Rams roster. Now the Rams have the arduous task of coaching up Christopher Dunn, giving him plenty of opportunity to put his craft on display, and then make a selection between him and Tanner Brown, who we had already featured in his own article.

The Rams must find a kicker to take over for their former Pro Bowl kicker Matt Gay. Gay had it all, a powerful leg that was incredibly accurate. The fact that the Rams seldom lined up to kick three points to slink off the football field after a miss says it all. Can Christopher Dunn deliver both power and accuracy?

A quick summary

When the San Francisco 49ers jumped in to select Michigan kicker Jake Moody in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft with the 99th overall pick, many NFL analysts were a bit shocked, or at least significantly surprised. There were some who did rise to the 49ers defense, arguing that if the 49ers love the guy, why not use a draft pick to ensure that they got him?

But there were no outstanding kickers who were head and shoulders better than the rest of the field of kickers in the 2023 NFL Draft. At least, not in the opinion of NFL draft analysts and scouts, that is. But LA Rams' new ST coordinator Chase Blackburn already seems to have a knack for getting some amazing talent on the Rams roster. I believe that, until pads go on and football games are played, Blackburn has done about as well to restocking the special team shelves this year.

What I don't like about this signing

This one is not on Christopher Dunn, per se. Rather it is the general process of trying to bring in a rookie to start at one of the most visible and pressure-packed roles on the team. Even Rams Pro Bowler Matt Gay, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Round 5 of the 2019 NFL Draft, was released after just one season because he hit a streak where he simply could not hit a field goal to save his job, or the win, for the Buccaneers. That ultimately led to his signing on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad, and from there to the LA Rams roster in November 2020.

What I like about this signing

If you are going to do something, do it well. Go big or go home. Well, the LA Rams kicker, while currently facing competition from two rookies, somehow managed to set up competition between two of the best kickers in the 2023 draft class.

Dunn just had incredible accuracy in 2022, a kicker who never missed an extra point in his college career, hitting on 200 of 200 attempts. And he is a young man who made 97 of 115 field goals in his college career.

He would have scored higher, and likely been drafted, if he had the shown a gift for kickoffs. But will kickoffs matter in 2023? With the new rules changes that will spot the football on the 25-yard line for any fair catch made within the 25, Dunn may be kicking off for the Rams if he wins the job.

What I love about this signing

While draft rankings of rookie prospects are fun and do have some relative value when comparing one player to another, they are not written in stone. Still, it's amusing to see how the San Francisco 49ers burned a Top-100 draft selection in the 2023 NFL draft to pick Michigan kicker Jake Mody in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

The fun comes with the fact that Christopher Dunn was ranked as a better kicker in the class than Moody. In fact, Dunn was rated as the top kicker in this draft class. Take that Niners gang.

Okay, but that is just one person's opinion, right? Not so fast, as Christopher Dunn is arguably the best kicker in the 2023 NFL Draft, based on his 2023 NFL Scouting Combunem, and the Rams signed him after the draft ended.

While Dunn was averaging in the low 80 percent accuracy, it all fell together for him in his fifth and final season for NC State. In 2022, he blasted 28 of 29 field goals for an accuracy rating of 96.6 percent. And as you can see above, that carried over into his 2023 NFL Scouting Combine results, where he was the only kicker to be perfect. For comparisons' sake, 49ers Moody missed three of 15 kicks.

What are his chances of making the roster?

You have to believe that Dunn has the pole position to win the Rams kicking job, don't you? Of course, there are some details to work out, like how well does he kick in preseason games. Will he be tasked with kickoffs? Will he win the job from Tanner Brown?

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The LA Rams have two very accomplished kickers competing for the job through training camp. Regardless of how it turns out, I already love what Chase Blackburn brings to the Rams.