2022 NFL Draft shocker: Bills land ‘Punt God’ Matt Araiza who surprisingly gets taken behind two other punters

The NFL draft doesn’t usually give us many surprises when it comes to kick-offs, but it did bring in two big surprises on Saturday.

The biggest surprise is that college football best player Matt Ariza wasn’t the first player to come off the board this year. The former San Diego State gambler was not selected until the Bills made him the first pick of the sixth round (180th overall).

Although he was a top potential player in the draft, Ariza ended up being the third player selected. The first two players came off the board in the fourth round with the Ravens picking Jordan Stout and taking the pirate Jake Camarda.

These two choices were somewhat surprising as well, just because you’ve never seen two early punters with Stout reaching 130 overall and Camarda going three picks later, this year was the third time since 1993 that two punters were taken before the end of the fourth round. The only other times this happened were in 1993 and 2007.

For whatever reason, punters were a popular position to choose from in this year’s draft. With the first 180 picks, there were more gamblers (3) selected in the entire 2021 draft (the Steelers’ pick was Presley Harvin as the only gambler’s pick last year).

As for Araiza, it’s possible that the Bills got a steal with their choice of player known as “Punt God”.

Ariza was widely seen as a potential player of the year after the 2021 college season ended with him winning the Ray Jay Award. If you look at his numbers, it’s abundantly clear that Ariza has one of the strongest legs on any kicking prospect in NFL history. Not only did he lead the nation in average kicks at an FBS record average of 51.4 yards per kick, but he also had six shots from at least 70 yards in 2021, the most in the country. To put that into perspective, there were only six balls of 70 yards or more by every NFL gambler combined last season. Ariza also pulled off an 86-yard penalty last season, which was the longest in college football.

It’s not clear why Ariza was relegated to the sixth round, but there are plenty of theories. One theory as to why he fell is that he never held onto him for bonus points or field goals. Araiza served as a place employee for SDSU while in college, so he never had to keep it. If the team is uncomfortable with your sticking skills, it could definitely lead you to fall into the draft.

One other theory is that teams fear Arraiza will outpace his coverage in the NFL. Thomas Morstead, a former Saints fighter, recently explained to the Athletic why he was worried.

“The coach my first eight years in New Orleans, if you hit a kick over 55 yards, it was crazy,” Morstead said. “He was like, ‘You’re outpacing your coverage. We don’t control the field location.'” What I was asked to do was different from the skill set (perspective) than other players might have. But I know there are other players in the league who are just being asked to hit the ball as far as they can on the field, and it will cover the team. They will give up some big revenue, but it will be They also have some giant fluctuations in the field location.”

Although there was some concern that Arraiza’s booming strikes might outpace his coverage, San Diego State appears to be covering his mounts. One of the most important kick stats is the net kick rate, and Ariza finished the year at 44.3, ranking sixth nationally. Stout was slightly ahead of him at 44.5 while Camarda was well below both men at 41.6.

Stout was one of the top bookmakers in this year’s class and it wasn’t a complete shocker to see him become the first gambler to be caught. John Harbaugh is a former head coach of the specials and has a better view of punters and catchers than any other coach in the NFL, so if he wants Stout, you can bet he liked his kicking style more than I liked Araiza’s booming style.

Harbaugh appears to prefer the punter gambler, which he has had over the years with Sam Koch, who has been a Baltimore gambler since 2006. Stout will likely end up replacing longtime gambler Ravens, who will complete 40 in August.

When it comes to gamblers, the biggest surprise is that the pirates took Camarda on Ariza. The San Diego State gambler was better than Camarda on almost every measure last season. With Camarda now in Tampa, it would likely mean the end of Bradley Benion’s three-year career with the team.

Although Ariza saw a lot of excitement in San Diego State, he may not see the field much in Buffalo. In 2021, Bills earned a total of 52 times, which was tied for the fifth lowest total in the NFL. With Araiza now in Buffalo, this puts veteran gambler Matt Haack on the hot seat.

It looks like Ariza will be a good fit in Buffalo. As a matter of fact, it looks like he’s already completely adopting his new team.