Buccaneers can’t spend valuable capital on fickle position
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers need a new punter badly, but this player shouldn’t come from the draft.
Special teams truthers, prepare to be upset. Yes, your part of the game does matter, but it may not be as special as the name dictates, especially on a team like the Buccaneers.
If we’re honestly breaking down the importance of each side of the ball, the offense accounts for about 60% of game, defense is around 30%, and special teams fills out the rest. This isn’t so much a knock against kickers, punters, and gunners, but their impact on games is hard to compare to what offenses and defenses do.
Kickers just have to be mediocre. Justin Tucker levels of kicking play aren’t even close to a requirement for NFL success. Sure, it helps, but that is not where any team needs to invest money or picks.
The Buccaneers had the right approach with Ryan Succop, and there is something to be said about bringing in a new guy for every training camp to let competition determine who should start.
Punting has perhaps even less value. Being able to get out of your own territory and flip the field is a nice talent, but that skill has never been worth paying for or drafting. The Buccaneers were able to dominate for the majority of the 2021 season with injuries on both sides of the ball, yet they had a declining kicker and one of the worst punters in the league.
Tampa’s special teams haven’t been good for a while now, but their impact on the game has diminished to the point where this really doesn’t change much. Bradley Pinion was terrible last season, yet the losses still came down to the defense being too porous and the offense not scoring.
The thing that most people seem to forget is that special teams units just have to be mediocre to help propel teams forward. You never need great. In fact, great usually means money, and that side of the ball is the last place you want to invest any money in.
As some fans tend to forget these facts, some within the Buccaneers community seem to think Tampa will target a punter in the draft. There are very few ideas as bad as this.
Spending a value pick on a punter during Tom Brady’s final season would be up there as one of the worst decisions ever. A seventh may not be too hard to stomach, but anything higher should cause questions about what the front office is thinking.
Special teams are fickle. Guys should have to earn their job every week, and the Bucs could save themselves some money and potentially find a better option by avoiding punter like a plague in the 2022 NFL Draft.
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