Bills, Dolphins going young at kicker?

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The Bills and Dolphins each added a placekicker on the draft’s third day, with Miami taking Florida’s Caleb Sturgis late in Round Five and Buffalo selecting Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins early in Round Six.

Both teams have financial and football reasons to consider going with a rookie kicker in 2013.

The Bills’ incumbent kicker, Rian Lindell, is slated to make $2.1 million in 2013 and 2014 and $2.2 million in 2015, according to Rotoworld figures. While consistent on field goals, Lindell does not have a strong kickoff leg, forcing just 19 touchbacks in 90 attempts in the last two seasons (21.1 percent). By comparison, Hopkins, who hit 25-of-30 field goals as a senior, forced touchbacks on 39.3 percent of his collegiate kickoffs (137-of-348).

In Miami, Sturgis could replace Dan Carpenter, whose scheduled 2013 compensation is close to $2.7 million, per Rotoworld. Carpenter has connected on 81.9 percent of his field goals in five NFL seasons and is serviceable on kickoffs. However, Sturgis was accurate on field goals in his two seasons at Florida (46-of-54, 85.2 percent), and in his final collegiate campaign, 31-of-69 kickoffs went for touchbacks (44.9 percent).

Several rookie kickers immediately proved their NFL readiness in 2012, with the Vikings’ Blair Walsh, the Ravens’ Justin Tucker and the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein all faring well in their first seasons. Now, Sturgis and Hopkins seem poised to be given jobs right off the bat, too.

14 responses to “Bills, Dolphins going young at kicker?

  1. Why not? Carpenter got complacent over the last two years. He went from “money” to mediocre. It is one thing to blow a kick every once in a while. It is quite another to miss game winning/tying kicks late and in OT (two different OT games). Not all his fault (team had another opportunity a couple times late) but if he made 3-4 critical kicks, the Dolphins would have been 10-6 and a playoff team last year. He missed them and the team couldn’t overcome it.

  2. Lindell is pretty solid on FG’s, but his range is just under 50 yards. I remember a few times last year where the Bills decided to punt over kicking 50-55 yard field goals. It was a major damper on the team’s momentum. Coming off the field with no points time after time forced the team to rely on their Defense way too much, which proved disastrous. If this kid can become consistent and reliable, then I wouldn’t mind a change at Kicker. If Lindell is still as sure shot between 35-45 yards and proves he is still better than this rookie then forget it, keep the Veteran.

  3. I updated the post with Lindell’s touchback percentage the last two years. He’s had 19 touchbacks in 90 attempts (21.1 percent).

  4. Good pick up by the Bills. Now time to cut the old man and give us more money to throw at Byrd. Oh and Hopkins has a cannon for a leg.

  5. You have to be able to kick the ball 50 yards in today’s NFL. Lindell couldn’t last year. He was accurate, but just doesn’t have the leg.

  6. I believe the bills draft was pretty solid. Only time will tell. Resist the urge to rush EJ, and let Kolb start this year and things may be on the up. The more I study and watch Kiko the more impressed i am with his skill set. Arther Brown is a stud but Nigel Bradham has a very similar skill set to Browns so it actually makes sense to me that they chose Kiko over minter and brown to me now. EJ AND KIKO have HUGE ceilings.
    LETS GO BILLS 2013… i live and cry with My BILLS! As OZZY would say… NO MORE TEARS!!!

  7. The legs older but not dead. If Lindell has to move on I’d thank him for his service…..things change. Anyone who still brings up Norwood should probably move out of Moms garage. Been there done that, forgiven!

  8. I think it’s great these guys played as rivals in college and will continue to do so in the NFL.

    You can’t laugh at teams for drafting kickers any more. With rookie kickers proving very capable (see: last year), and financial considerations making them cheaper than veterans, it makes sense.

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