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Thread: Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

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    Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

    Posted: 9:10 am May 03, 2012

    Finding the Fits -- Could K Zuerlein prove the Rams' best value pick?

    By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

    As the original owners of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams follow yesterday's review of the Indianapolis Colts as the next post in NFLDraftScout.com's "Finding the Fits" series. The goal of this series is to identify one relatively unheralded player per team who would appear to be a particularly good schematic fit and therefore more likely to be a surprise contributor early in his respective pro career.

    In trading down only four spots, new general manager Les Snead and veteran head coach Jeff Fisher were given a bounty of picks by the Washington Redskins. The Rams will have the Redskins' first round picks in each of the next two drafts, which frankly, they may need because while St. Louis added an awful lot of talent to their roster last weekend, they also drafted several players with a history of making poor decisions off the field - which limits their potential to make a reliable contribution on it.

    In fact, the player in best position to make an immediate impact would seem to be kicker Greg Zuerlein, who the Rams selected with the first pick of the sixth round, No. 171 overall. The Rams thought enough of the Missouri Western State product to release veteran kicker Josh Brown. Brown, incidentally, was signed by the New York Jets one day later.

    It is easy to understand why the Rams might feel confident in the rookie's chances at making big kicks in the NFL - just take a peek at his statistics. Zuerlein nailed 23 of 24 kicks this year for MWSU and was a perfect nine for nine on kicks over 50+ yards. He showed some grit under pressure too, drilling a 57-yarder late against rival Missouri Southern that wound up being the game-winner. And this was Zuerlein's first year in the program. He'd spent his previous time earning All-American recognition at Nebraska of Omaha, but had to transfer once the university elected to drop football as part of their jump to Division I. As one might expect considering Zuerlein's success as a field goal kicker (of the six field goals he missed in 2010, five were blocked) and kickoff weapon (43.1% of his kicks from 2008-10 went for touchbacks), he was heavily recruited by FCS schools but an eligibility snafu limited his options.

    Once the Rams cut Brown they essentially gave Zuerlein the job. Sure, the Rams signed free agent kicker Garrett Lindholm in January and he could, technically, win the job but only if the rookie falls on his face. Once St. Louis drafted Zuerlein, the Rams were essentially "pot-committed." During Jeff Fisher's 16-year run as head coach of the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans, his club never invested a draft pick in a kicker.

    Perhaps most intriguing for Zuerlein (and possibly hardcore Fantasy Football enthusiasts) will be his fit with Fisher - a relationship that could lead to plenty of field goal opportunities as a rookie. Fisher will demand a ball-control approach that will move the chains with more consistency than the team saw a year ago under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Furthermore, Fisher has shown uncommon courage in allowing his kickers of the past to attempt long field goals. While under Fisher, current Titans' kicker Rob Bironas attempted 22 field goals over 50+ yards, including a memorable 60-yarder in 2006.

    If Zuerlein can continue his deep accuracy in the NFL, he could prove quite the unsung find of the Rams' 2012 draft.


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    Re: Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

    Fisher never drafted a kicker and I've never posted highlights of one... looking forward to seeing this kid kick off as well, here is too a lot of touch backs!


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    Re: Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

    He was actually one of my favorite picks, believe it or not. This kid has a lethal combination of accuracy and kicking power, and I think we may have found our placekicker for the next decade...unless of course he pulls an Amaire Studemire and kicks a fire extinguisher, promptly permanently breaking all his toes.

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    Re: Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

    Wow 9 for 9 at the 50 yard line.

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    Re: Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

    I absolutely love this pick. Think of it this way, if he is as good as advertised, 2.7 million cap value (front line kicker money) for about 450k actual cap cost. My greatest concern is whether his kicks are too low and he is going to have issues getting them blocked. Sure, the goal posts are the same distance apart in division 2, but the size and athleticism of the guys trying to block kicks obviously doesnt compare to the nfl. Getting the ball up in the air quickly is a huge issue that inhibits distance and he had five kicks blocked in 2010.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    GROUND DOG 39 likes this.


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    Re: Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

    5 of his six misses were blocks? I keep reading more and more about this pick that I like...

    Looks like a great time for Fisher to finally draft a kicker

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    Re: Could K Zuerlein Prove The Rams' Best Value Pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    I absolutely love this pick. Think of it this way, if he is as good as advertised, 2.7 million cap value (front line kicker money) for about 450k actual cap cost. My greatest concern is whether his kicks are too low and he is going to have issues getting them blocked. Sure, the goal posts are the same distance apart in division 2, but the size and athleticism of the guys trying to block kicks obviously doesnt compare to the nfl. Getting the ball up in the air quickly is a huge issue that inhibits distance and he had five kicks blocked in 2010.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel

    I thought about that too, but on the other hand, he has the size and athleticism of professional lineman in front of him now.

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