Carolina Panthers UDFAs: A deeper look at the specialists

It's almost impossible to find photos of small-school specialists. So, enjoy the Chick Fil-A cow in a motorcycle. - Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The best chances to make the roster from the UDFA crop come from the specialists.

The most important UDFA signings for the Panthers may have been lost in the post-draft flurry. For every undrafted gem, the vast majority of these guys will fail to ever make an impact. Most often where we see guys get a chance are at kicker and punter. Teams typically don't like investing picks in the position, and with such a specialized job it's easy to overlook a talented player from a small school. In bringing in a UDFA kicker and punter, the Panthers are hoping to find a long-term option out of nothing.

Graham Gano is a short-term option at best. Brought in to stop the bleeding following the shaky-nerved Justin Medlock, the hope is that the Panthers can find the sutures needed to move on from John Kasay. Signed to a two-year deal, the first UDFA specialist is widely-believed to have the best shot at making the team.

Morgan Lineberry, K, Abilene Christian University

It's most likely the Panthers got their eyes on Lineberry following a regional senior combine in Myrtle Beach, SC. It's here where he worked out for teams, and obviously where the Panthers liked his ability.

Visit the his page on ACU's website and it will extol his virtues over his college career, focusing on his junior season where he went 13-16. However, it was almost impossible to find much on his senior season at all. No mention of his stats, and a vague reference to him going 7-8 inside the 40 yard line -- which raised my hackles a little.

After digging I found my way to Kohl's Kicking -- an independent camp he attended. It's here where you'll find his career kicking totals, and it's hardly as exciting as the UDFA buzz surrounding Lineberry has been.

Year FGM FGA FG% INS 40 40-49 50+ XPM XPA XP%
2012 7 12 58.3% 7-8 0-2 0-2 27 30 90%
2011 13 16 81.3% 11-12 1-1 1-3 47 50 94%
2010 21 30 70% 18-22 3-6 0-2 48 53 91%
2009 9 13 69.2% 6-9 0-1 3-3 18 20 90%

Is it possible he had a terrible snapper? Maybe. Perhaps Dan forgot to hold the laces out? Either way, it's probably way too premature to anoint this guy 'The Gano slayer', unless one of those 13 career missed extra points strikes Graham in the temple. He'll come to camp, and they'll see what he can do.

Pete Kontodiakos, P, Colorado State

Tall... check. Good statistics... check. Difficult to pronounce name.... bingo.

On paper Kontodiakos (I'm assuming CON-toe-DEE-ah-KOS) is the perfect player to bring in and add some competition to Brad Nortman. The issue with Carolina's 2012 draft pick has never been his ability, because his leg is huge -- it's how quickly he can get the ball out. His long wind-up resulted in blocks last year, and he'll need to improve.

A former Ray Guy award nominee, he's sure to become BW's latest punter crush. What's most interesting about Kontodiakos is that 29.7% of his career punts traveled 50+ yards. This is an fairly high percentage, and could garner him notice if he proves to be an equally successful directional punter as Nortman is.

2012 CSU 59 46.5 73 2742
2011 CSU 57 43.6 64 2487
2010 CSU 51 43.7 69 2231
2009 CSU 52 40.9 76 2129

Good career averages, and a lot of punts -- he has a chance. When looking at both the punter and kicker brought in, I dare say we're putting far too much stock in Lineberry's two-year deal, and not enough in Kontodiakos, who looks to be the far better pro prospect.

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