NFL mock draft: Ranking the top special teams players
We’re charging headlong towards the 2021 NFL Draft, which kicks off on Thursday. It’s always fascinating to see hundreds of the country’s top college players find out their next destinations, and we’ll have a few articles this week devoted to specific position groups.
This time around, we’ll focus on special teams players. Yes, kickers and punters are prospects too, and we’ll profile five worth keeping an eye on as we move later into the draft.
5. Max Duffy, Kentucky
The Australia native will be a 28-year-old rookie this year, but has shown tons of power in his time as a punter for the Wildcats.
His style is rugby-based, and that may need to change at the next level, but the tools are there. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him compete for a starting job over the next few months.
4. Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech
Harvin was a four-year starter at punter for the Yellow Jackets, and led all punters nationally by averaging 48 yards per punt. He was the 2020 recipient of the Ray Guy Award, as he was voted the nation's top punter.
His leg strength is solid, and he’s shown an ability to boot great directional punts.
3. Evan McPherson, Florida
McPherson’s accuracy on shorter kicks is top-notch. The Gator made nearly 95% of his collegiate attempts inside 40 yards, and his compact technique is a definite plus.
What he’ll need to do to succeed at the next level is extend that accuracy to longer kicks. If he can do that, McPherson has a chance to stick at the NFL level.
2. Riley Patterson, Memphis
Patterson has held the starting kicker job since his freshman season, and for the most part, he’s been very solid. He turned heads by going 23-for-25 as a junior in 2019, but he slipped a bit as a senior, when he missed seven kicks (all from beyond 40 yards).
He’s got plenty of leg strength, but his accuracy is a definite question mark.
1. Jose Borregales, Miami
Borregales transferred from Florida International, where he was a three-year starter and made 50 of 65 field goals. After suiting up for the Hurricanes, he went 20-for-22 on field goals and was a perfect 37-for-37 on extra points.
There’s a lot to like here, and he’ll have every chance to be an NFL starter as a rookie.