Rare feet: Two punters picked in 1st four rounds
Some NFL punter history was made on Saturday, and it didn’t include the “punt god.”
For the first time since 2007, two punters were selected in the first four rounds of the NFL draft. The Baltimore Ravens selected Penn State’s Jordan Stout with the No. 130 overall pick, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Georgia’s Jake Camarda three spots later.
“It was really cool. It’s really cool because I know a lot of those guys and I’m friends with a lot of those guys,” Camarda said about multiple punters being talked about as draft picks. “To be able to go through it with them together and just to see the opportunities unfold and for everything to go down the way it has — it’s been really cool.”
“I was sitting on the couch, I was watching the draft,” Camarda said of his draft experience, “every single pick, just hoping I’d get a phone call, hoping that a team would hit me up and I’d just be able to have that moment.”
Stout and Camarda were surprisingly taken before San Diego State punter Matt Araiza, who became known as the “punt god” after setting an NCAA record last season with a booming 51.1-yard average.
Araiza was selected in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills with the 180th overall pick.
Stout, who set a Penn State record with a 46.6-yard average, became the highest punter taken since 2019. Mitch Wishnowsky was drafted 110th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in that draft.
“He’s got a big leg,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He’s a guy that we’ve known about. I saw Penn state play live several times this year. My daughter is at Penn state. He’s a guy that we had highly regarded throughout the process.”
The arrival of Stout likely means the departure of Sam Koch, who has played in a franchise-record 256 games for the Ravens. Koch, 39, has the third-highest cap figure ($3.175 million) among punters this year. Baltimore can free up $2.1 million by cutting Koch, which could help the team sign a wide receiver or pass-rusher after the draft.
DeCosta was noncommittal on Koch’s future with the Ravens, saying that for now the team just wanted “to celebrate the guy we drafted.”
Similarly, Camarda’s arrival almost certainly signifies the end for Tampa Bay veteran Bradley Pinion, who would count $2.9 million against the Bucs’ salary cap this year.
Camarda averaged 45.78 yards per punt in 53 career games at Georgia and 46.7 yards in the Bulldogs’ national championship year last season. He was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2020.
The last time two punters were drafted in the first four rounds was 15 years ago, when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Adam Podlesh and the Pittsburgh Steelers went with Daniel Sepulveda in the fourth round.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.