Washington Redskins 2014 Draft Pick: Zach Hocker, Kicker, Arkansas

Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Profile on Washington Redskins 7th round selection, Zach Hocker, Kicker, Arkansas

Zach Hocker

Kicker

Arkansas

Height: 6’, Weight: 189 lbs

Stats: 13/15 on Field Goal attempts. He also had 7 punts for 320 yards (45.7 average yards per punt)

I’m sure you all were thinking the same thing I was thinking when this pick came in during the 7th round: huh? This is not a fantasy draft, you do not need to draft a kicker in the last round.

But after some time has passed, this draft pick has grown on me. The Redskins special teams unit was horrifyingly bad last season, and this was one of the many draft picks that emphasized the effort to fix the unit. Hocker has a lot more leg strength then current kicker Kai Forbath. While Forbath has been solid in field goals, he was a special teams liability. Based on last season’s kick offs, it would seem that Kai lacks the leg strength to consistently kick the ball though the end zone. Since the Redskins special teams unit wais very poor at tackling, the lack of touchbacks created a recipe for disaster.

Hocker must be the kind of kicker that new special teams coach, Ben Kotwica, thinks his unit can succeed with. Hocker also has some experience punting, and punting well for that matter. His skill set is pretty handy, but this special teams unit still needs a punter. And Kai Forbath is pretty likeable, so the thought of him getting cut is a downer. 7th round picks are usually developmental players that do not usually pan out, so getting a player that upgrades the special teams and can contribute right away is a justifiable pick for the Redskins. Especially since attracting the un-drafted free agents can be difficult for, well, 3-13 teams.

Hocker could prove to be a valuable addition to the Redskins, but we still need to see how strong his leg actually is. Per his scouting report on nfl.com, there was some concern with leg strength and accuracy declining his senior season. His senior season ended up being the best season of his college career. Hocker will not be handed the job, and he will have to beat Kai Forbath in camp for the starting kicker spot. Maybe the Redskins will really surprise us and name Hocker as the starting punter. That is unlikely, but having a kicker who can punt well is a huge perk. Competition at every position makes teams better, so lets hope it will improve the Redskins special teams unit.

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