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NFL Draft Rumors: Rams could use third round pick on a punter

Jordan Stout or Matt Araiza could replace Johnny Hekker

NFL: MAR 05 Scouting Combine Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a draft preview show with Trey Wingo on Tuesday, ProFootballNetwork’s Tony Pauline was asked what he was hearing about the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams do not have a pick in the top-100, sitting on the sidelines until a third round compensatory pick at 104.

Los Angeles has needs at cornerback, safety, defensive tackle, and along the offensive line, so which of those positions will Les Snead address with his first pick? Pauline thinks that the Rams could pass all of those needs to address a literal hole on the roster that hasn’t been filled since releasing Johnny Hekker.

Yes, Pauline believes that the L.A. Rams could very well use the 104th pick on a punter.

Pauline mentions that the top two punters in the draft are Penn State’s Jordan Stout and San Diego State’s Matt Araiza.

Ferragamo15 wrote a fanpost in February about Ariaza, noting that he does have bust potential if taken in the middle of the draft:

Araiza has rare talent with his incredible kicking power, which makes him an intriguing prospect with high potential. The lack of polish and nuance in his technique, however, causes him to also have a low floor with bust potential. Punter is a position where reliability and consistency is valued.

To my eye, Araiza is too risky of a pick to make in the middle of the draft. I see him as more of a late round or even an UDFA prospect. Many solid NFL punters were UDFAs. AJ Cole led the NFL in punting average last season and was an UDFA in 2019. Only a select few punters are truly worth drafting and it isn’t a slam dunk that Araiza is one of those who merits being picked.

Ferragamo also noted that this is the deepest punter draft of recent memory.

1. Jordan Stout (Penn State) 5.99 grade, consensus UDFA. 6’3’’ tall, 209 pounds. Ran 4.65 sec in the 40. LZ says he has the makings of a steady, long term NFL punter. Quality power, outstanding touch. Limits returns with hang time. Rarely punts ball into the end zone. Consistent quick operation with both 2 and 3 step approach. Very low touchback rate. Only an average directional punter. Watching him, there’s nothing overly impressive about his leg strength, but he has good technique, enough passing ability to execute a fake, probably has limited upside to become one of the top pro punters, but has a high floor and could be a reliable punter. He was also the K for PSU, but doesn’t quite have enough leg to be a regular pro kicker. 46.1 yard average in 2021. 35 inside 20 and 3 touchbacks. 30 out of 67 punts were fair caught. Zero blocks in 99 career punts. Only averaged 41.5 yards in 2020. 7th in nation in kickoff touchback percentage in 2020. Turns 24 years old in August.

How would you feel if the Rams used their first pick in the draft on a punter?