This is why I trust Rizzi with drafting kicker Jason Sanders in the 7th round.
Barry Jackson wrote:
In evaluating whether a kicker is any good, the first thing fans usually look at is his accuracy rate on field goals.
That’s why it was surprising when respected Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi said the following on Saturday after being asked why he liked Dolphins seventh-round rookie kicker Jason Sanders, who made only 25 of 35 field goals (71 percent) in his career at New Mexico:
“A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but really, when you look at a college placekicker, one of the last things I look at is field goal percentage, and there’s a reason for that,” Rizzi said.
“The reason for that is because a lot of times in college, the operations are [not consistently good]… It’s completely different than the NFL. I can sit here for hours and talk about the guys and give you examples. Stephen Gostkowski for the Patriots was a 76-percent field-goal kicker in college. Matt Bryant for the Falcons was a 72-percent field-goal kicker in college. Mason Crosby (was a) 74-percent kicker in college. Phil Dawson was a 74-percent kicker in college. Robbie Gould was a 63-percent kicker in college. Between those five guys, they have over 70 years of NFL experience.
“The point is the field goal percentage probably gets looked at a little bit too much. But in this day in age of fantasy football and numbers and everything, I get it.”
Though Sanders took accountability for his misses during a news conference Friday, Rizzi suggested that either the snap or ball placement wasn’t ideal on a lot of his college kicks. That’s one reason for his mediocre percentage.
“His operation wasn’t great,” Rizzi said. “I know he’s not going to stand here in front of you and tell you guys that. He’s going to put the blame on him; but his operation wasn’t great. I was really impressed with the talent, the person, and obviously we felt strong enough to draft him at that point. Even the other kicker that got drafted in the fifth round – (Minnesota fifth-rounder Daniel Carlson) – his senior year, he was below 80 percent [at Auburn]. You can see I did a little bit of homework on that, by the way.”
Bottom line, Rizzi said, is this: Sanders is “a guy that didn’t get a lot of opportunity in college. He’s a guy that only had 35 field-goal attempts because his head coach went for it a lot of times in the red zone. Bob Davie is an aggressive coach. They didn’t kick a lot of field goals. I think he had more long field goals than short field goals, because it seemed like every time they were close, they went for it.
“He obviously did a really good job on his PATs and his kickoffs. I feel like if he was a guy that was in a Power 5 conference, he would have been much more of a household name, if you will. He might have been a little bit higher up the draft board; but it worked out great for us.”
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-c ... rylink=cpy