Will the St. Louis Rams get a breakout performance from their rookie kicker?
A post about a kicker? Yes, a post about a kicker. As you know, the St. Louis Rams spent their 6th-round pick on Western Missouri kicker Greg Zuerlein. At least one expert says that Zuerlein could have the most immediate impact of any player in the team's 2012 draft class.
Rob Rang, draft analyst at CBS Sports, pegged Zuerlein as the rookie who could contribute the most in 2012. It makes sense. He's a kicker. Garrett Lindholm was added to the roster this spring, but a team doesn't use a draft pick on a kicker and not start him. The Rams figure to be kicking more than a few field goals this season while the offense matures.
Zuerlein nailed 23 of 24 field goal attempts last year. He was a perfect nine-for-nine on kicks of 50 yards or more. That could come in handy. Here's Rang:
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.
The only question here is whether or not the Rams are taking too great a risk in relying on a rookie kicker and a rookie punter (they signed Oregon State punter Johnny Hekker as a UDFA to replace Donnie Jones). Then again, they are kickers, so maybe it's not worth overthinking.