99.5% of Redskins fans will agree that Graham Gano was an extremely week link for the Skins last year. Gano was statistically the worst kicker in the league (for playing a full season) and only made 68.6% of his kicks. Many blame Gano directly for 3 or 4 losses throughout the course of last season, which is easy to do; but Gano still deserves an opportunity to compete for his job this Summer. But the question is, who should be be brought in to compete with Gano? A young prospect or an established veteran?
Honestly I'm kind of tired of the prospect route and would yearn for an established vet. With the way the kicker market is shaking out the Skins should have an opportunity to reach out for a veteran if needed. Here are three very distinct possibilites:
David Akers: Akers has been with the Eagles since 1999 and it looks like the 36 year old's career may be coming to a close in Philly. The Eagles spent a 4th round pick in April on Nebraska kicker Alex Henery which likely spells the end for Akers. Despite struggling from occasional attempts beyond 50 yards, Akers has been pretty solid including last year when he made 84% of his kicks. Could Akers career come full circle with a possible Redskins reunion?
Matt Prater: Another interesting name floating out there is restricted free agent and a former player of Mike Shanahan's Matt Prater. Prater was injured late last year, but has always been a pretty solid kicker in the post-Elam Era in Denver. The past two years Prater has made 86% of his kicks including going 7 for 9 beyond 50 yards in his time in Denver. If Prater hits the open market he could be a hot commodity, but Denver seems to be a kicker's dream job.
David Buehler: With the new kicking rules in effect for the 2011 season the word out of Big D is the Cowboys will go with former Texans and Steelers kicker Kris Brown. Buehler has been with the Cowboys for two years and is usually known for blowing the ball through the end zone on kickoffs. Last year was his first attempt at being the FG kicker and he made just 75% of his kicks, but was 4 for 6 from beyond 50 yards. Buehler could be a perfect guy to come in and light a fire under Gano. Most likely Buehler will stay with the 'Boys through camp.
Kai Forbath, UCLA: One of the nations best kickers Forbath went undrafted. the 2009 Lou Groza Award winner will most likely get a immediate call from a NFL GM once the lockout is lifted.
Josh Jasper, LSU: Another solid college kicker that will get a shot in a camp this Summer.
Jake Rogers, Cincinnati