The Los Angeles Rams have opened the door on a punting competition for the first time since 2011. There’s a punter in this class who appears ready to blow that door down.
Tulane punter Ryan Wright is not built like any punter in the NFL. At 6’3, 245 lbs, Wright is built more like a linebacker. And although he won’t be confused for Aaron Donald on his best flexing day, don’t let Wright’s thick frame fool you: Wright ran a 4.6 at his pro day.
The other players in this draft who ran between a 4.5-4.6 at a similar weight include several linebackers projected for the second round, including Quay Walker and Leo Chenal, as well as edge rushers Nik Bonitto and David Ojabo.
And yes, he can boom it too.
Wright regularly hits the 60-yard mark on his punts, including a 69-yarder in 2021, and he was a semi-finalist for the Ray Guy award as the nation’s top punter last season. He was also a freshman All-American in 2018 and seems likely to get an NFL tryout, even if he’s not considered draftable, which is not a negative for any punting prospect really.
Johnny Hekker was an undrafted free agent in 2012 hoping to get a job and maybe throw a few passes with the Rams one day.
In Ferragamo15’s punter preview, he mentioned that Wright is known to go wide right or wide left on occasion:
Ryan Wright (Tulane) Not graded, UDFA rankings. 6’3’’ tall, 245 pounds. Has a history of shanks, including a 30 yarder. Slumped in 2019, but improved both in 2020 (45.2 yard ave) and 2021 (47.5 yard ave, a career best). Can expedite operation with 2 step technique to get ball out quickly.
But hey, let’s not forget what’s important here: He’s a huge punter.
It’s rumored that L.A. is willing to go as high as their third round pick to replace Hekker, but that probably won’t be the case. Whether the Rams do or do not, why not hedge your bets with Wright?
Anything else would feel wrong.