- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
After watching games and breaking down film, Scouts Inc. has evaluated and graded more than 2,500 NFL players heading into the 2011 season. Here's how the kickers stacked up.
This position may shift a bit, depending on how impactful the new kickoff rules are. There's a shortage of quality kickers, but that's partly due to accuracy, and what is lost when you have to get the bigger leg over the more accurate one.
We graded on accuracy, but also on a sense of who coaches trust the most. Let's face it, legacies are built on where the kick goes as the clock is running out. We'll see how the kickoff rules affect things, but in the end, all that matters is whether the ball is going through the uprights.
Kaeding has good leg strength and the accuracy and confidence to kick game-winning field goals.
He may not have a cannon for a leg but he gets good distance and hang time. He is close to automatic from inside 50 yards.
Bironas has become one of the more dependable kickers in the NFL.
He has a strongand accurate leg and consistently gets his kickoffs into the end zone. He gets a quick rise on the ball and has only had two field goals blocked in his past six seasons and no PATs blocked.
Dawson continues to perform at a high level. He has poise under pressure and doesn't let the elements in Cleveland affect his mindset as a kicker.
He is hard worker and has shown consistent mechanics throughout his career. He continues to have a strong leg on longer field goals as well as kickoffs. Dawson is one of the most reliable, consistent kickers in the NFL and should continue being very productive for Cleveland in the coming years.
Janikowski has shown flashes of brilliance and inconsistency.
He has rare leg strength that allows him to kick off into the end zone on a consistent basis and has shown the ability to hit the rare 60-plus yard field goal. He gets the ball up quickly and shows a compact, fluid kicking motion.
Brown brings a good combination of accuracy and leg strength as well as the temperament to handle pressure ituations.
He can be a bit inconsistent and has had his share of field goal attempts blocked over the years. He consistently gets his kickoffs to, or into, the end zone, and gets good hang time, allowing his coverage to get downfield.
2dEric D. Williams
2dMel Kiper Jr.