Cal's Bryan Anger is considered one of the best punters to enter the draft in years.
After a long search to find a stable punter situation, the Rams finally found their man when they signed Donnie Jones before the 2007 season.
Jones spent the following five seasons in St. Louis, setting nearly every major punting record in franchise history along the way. But Jones departed in the offseason, opting to sign a free-agent contract with the Houston Texans.
That leaves the Rams with an opening for a punter heading into the 2012 NFL Draft. The team already brought
Strange as it sounds, if the Rams were going to part ways with Jones, this year would seem to be the ideal year to do so.
NFL Network analyst Chad Reuter believes this year’s draft is relatively loaded with punters, headed by one of the best prospects to come out in years in California’s Bryan Anger.
“There could be five theoretically drafted,” Reuter said. “This could be a year where you see a guy, Bryan Anger, get drafted in the top 100. That’s a possibility. I’d never bet on it. It happens once in a while where a guy sneaks into the late third. B.J. Sander was the last guy to get traded up to get a punter that high.”
It’s highly unlikely the Rams would pull the trigger on a punter any time before the sixth round at the earliest given their other needs but that doesn’t mean they’d be unable to find a quality punter when and if they do decide to pull the trigger.
Reuter throws out some other options, as well.
“Drew Butler is (former Bears kicker) Kevin Butler’s son,” Reuter said. “He’s a potential sixth or seventh round pick. Anger is clearly the No. 1 guy. A few other guys: Shawn Powell from Florida State and Kyle Martens from Rice and Brad Norton from Wisconsin, all those guys could be drafted.”
One other name to consider potentially for the Rams final selection or even as an undrafted free agent is San Diego State’s Brian Stahovich.
“He’s OK too,” Reuter said. “His leg isn’t as strong as the others but I think he’s more of a free agent guy that could be found after the draft. There are some possibilities in sixth or seventh round for them.”
It’s unlikely the Rams will look for another kicker in a class that’s headed up by Georgia’s Blair Walsh and Purdue’s Carson Wiggs.
On a local level, Illinois’ Derek Dimke and Missouri Western’s Greg Zuerlein could find some opportunities. The Rams have expressed at least some level of interest in Zuerlein.
Top Five Punter Prospects
1. Bryan Anger, California
2. Drew Butler, Georgia
3. Shawn Powell, Florida State
4. Kyle Martens, Rice
5. Brian Stahovich, San Diego State
Sleeper: Jeff Locke, UCLA
Top Five Kicker Prospects
1. Blair Walsh, Georgia
2. Randy Bullock, Texas A&M
3. Carson Wiggs, Purdue
4. David Teggart, Connecticut
5. Derek Dimke, Illinois
Sleeper: Greg Zuerlein, Missouri Western