Top punters and kickers in the NFL draft

04/14/2006

Player ... Pos. ... Ht. ... Wt. ... College

John Torp ... P ... 6-2 ... 212 ... Colorado

Josh Huston ... K ... 6-1 ... 209 ... Ohio State

Ryan Plackemeier ... P ... 6-3 ... 253 ... Wake Forest

Stephen Gostkowski ... K ... 6-1 ... 212 ... Memphis

Joel Stelly ... P ... 5-11 ... 197 ... Louisiana-Monroe

Don't overlook: Danny Baugher (P), Arizona; Connor Hughes (K), Virginia; Tom Malone (P), Southern California; Sam Paulescu (P), Oregon State; Steve Weatherford (P), Illinois.

Local line: Weatherford (Illinois) projects as a late-round pick; Missouri State's Jon Scifres projects as a late-round pick or rookie free agent.

Fun fact: Gostkowski also pitches for the Memphis baseball team. He was named to the Conference USA all-freshman team in both football and baseball during the 2002-03 school year.

Quotable: "It's usually brought up, and I know scouts have asked me a lot of questions about that. ... You've just got to go to the away games and prove you can kick it." - Colorado's Torp, on the perception that kicking in high altitude in Boulder skews his punting numbers.

One year ago: Three kickers and two punters were drafted, but in a rarity two went on the first day: Ohio State K Mike Nugent (2nd round, New York Jets), and Tennessee P Dustin Colquitt (3rd round, Kansas City).

Outlook: It appears to be a better year for punters than kickers. But it doesn't look as if there will be any first-day picks this year.

BY JIM THOMAS