2014 NFL Draft Profiles: Kicker Nate Freese

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you're the Oakland Raiders, there is never a good reason to pick a kicker before the fifth round. That leads us to the tale of the most consistent kicker in college football.

Combine Numbers:

Unavailable.  But he's a kicker - do we really need to know how fast he can run?

Strengths:

Freese finished his career 70 out of 81 on field goals, and he went 20-for-20 on the season.  The media voted him as a First Team All-ACC selection, while the coaches voted him Second Team All-ACC.  He was a perfect 6-for-6 on kicks from 40 yards out or more, and he successfully kicked both field goal attempts at home in November from that yardage.  That's key for kickers who can adapt to cold weather.  The only extra point he missed was against Maryland, but that was blocked so the blame can't be placed on the kicker.  His career field goal percentage is the best in the ACC since 2000, and he ranks seventh best in the nation over that same time period.

If that's not enough, Freese served as punter during his junior and senior year.  Using a rugby style punt, which is a far cry from the sky punts that the NFL is used to, he still averaged over 40 yards per punt, ninth best in college football last year..  He notched the fourth most punts in the ACC and accumulated the fifth most yards with over 3,000 yards punted.  That's almost 1,300 more than Chase Rettig threw for during the season.

Weaknesses:

Freese's unconventional kicking style and undersized height make him unlikely to make it as an NFL punter.  While statistics back him up, he is comparable in size only to Michael Koenen in size.  Of the 10 best punters in the league right now, he's the only one that's not 6' tall.  And even then, Koenen has one of the best hang times in the league in terms of getting his coverage downfield.

When it comes to kicking, Freese doesn't have a ton of weaknesses as the most consistent kicker in college football last year.  He didn't kick a ton of field goals outside the 40-yard mark, which maybe provides a limited sample size.

Teams That Have Had Freese In For A Private Workout:

Detroit Lions

Team That Would Be The Best Fit:

David Akers was pretty terrible for the Lions last year, converting on less than 80% of his field goal attempts.  As a result, they let him go and brought in John Potter.  Potter last did something notable when he provided kickoff duties for the Bills two years ago.  They also brought in Italian-born Giorgio Tavecchio, who may or may not have the coolest name in the league.  They need a kicker to stabilize their special teams, so maybe it's worth giving Freese a look in the 7th round.  Kickers are a dime a dozen, and it's often said a good kicker isn't ever the reason why you're in a position to win games.  A bad kicker, however, is the reason why plenty of teams lose games.

Projected Draft Round

UDFA.  This draft is deep enough that nobody is taking a kicker unless it's absolutely necessary.

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