The Buccaneers committed a cardinal sin by drafting a special teamer in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The results were not impressive.
Much like everything else in the preseason, overreacting to the very first game is silly. The Buccaneers were looking for growth above all other things, and that happened, so there is no reason to call for heads to roll or to start on Hall of Fame busts yet.
Still, it is also fair to have expectations in place for guys that the team was obviously highly-confident in, and that absolutely extends to Jake Camarda.
The Bucs were so confident in Camarda’s abilities that they used a fourth-round pick to secure his talents. This was obviously way too high on the day of the selection, and it is hard to disagree with that argument now.
Teams should never draft special teamers unless they are actually special. A punter drafted in the fourth round should be excellent from the jump. A kicker in that round should be lights out from anywhere.
The Bucs haven’t drafted special teams well in the past few years and they need Camarda to be better than he was last night if they want to flip this script.
Camarda had a night to forget; something that absolutely can’t happen for a punter that was drafted so high.
The first punt of the game for the rookie went a mere 43 yards. The second punt was slightly better and went 46 yards. Neither landed within the 20.
These first two punts did little to inspire confidence in the rookie punter, and the kickoff out of bounds to start the second half was also not a great look.
Camarda’s third punt was much better, going for 43 yards and landing at the five-yard line, and the fourth punt went 51 yards and landed at the Miami 29.
This performance was mediocre to poor when put together. The distance and the composure just weren’t there, and just one punt landing within the 20 is not what the Bucs invested such a valuable pick in.
The good news for Camarda is that he has no real competition and he still has time to turn all of this around.
No team should ever draft kickers or punters, but the Bucs have, and now they need to do everything in their power to set theirs up for success. Camarda can be better and needs to prove that over the coming weeks.
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