I don't remember who said this on Twitter earlier today but it stuck with me and decided to sneak in a poll on it. The Panthers will for the first time in franchise history enter the NFL draft without a punter on the roster, currently comprised of 71 players. I suspect that reason is that not only is their plenty of supply on the market but also this a draft rich with NFL quality punters.
In prior drafts one or maybe two punters might get drafted, if any at all. The 2012 features four to five quality punters that could get selected in this draft. It just depends on your preference because we have a bit of a buffet of punters so to speak.
Want one of the best punter prospects in the last decade? You could go with #1 ranked Bryan Anger from Cal who kicked 18 punts over 50 yards and downed 20 kicks inside the 20 in 2011. But he will cost you at least a 5th rounder, maybe a 4th if you really want him.
More after the jump...
If you don't like the price, how about more of a directional punter that can pin opponents back inside the 20? FSU's Shawn Powell has a 43% accuracy rate at pinning teams inside the 20. Better yet, he excels at pooch kicks and is an excellent FG holder too. Powell is worthy of a 6th or 7th round pick.
How about a punter with some swagger and the ice in his veins to make his best kicks when the pressure is on? Drew Butler out of UGA not only has the leg and experience making big kicks but the bloodlines too. Butler should be there in the 6th round.
If by chance all three of these guys are selected earlier than expected then there is still guys like Kyle Martens of Rice, Brad Nortman from Wisconsin and Brian Stahovich from San Diego St who could warrant the 7th round pick or even come in as a UDFA. Even if the Panthers select one of the top punters why wouldn't the top UDFA come here as well knowing they have a real shot at winning the job? A guy like Stahovich if he goes undrafted and being from the west coast would be a guy Rivera tends to favor.
So who do you favor? Take the poll.
Which punter do you think the Panthers will draft?
Bryan Anger (157 votes)
Drew Butler (90 votes)
Shawn Powell (31 votes)
Kyle Martens (5 votes)
Brian Stahovich (0 votes)
Brad Nortman (5 votes)
The Panthers will not draft a punter (26 votes)
314 total votes