If one considers themselves to be more of a casual football fan, they may not know just how important kickers can be to a football team. The Browns on the other hand knew what they were missing when they selected Cade York.
As for the Bengals, they seemingly struck gold on Evan McPherson, who ended up being perfect for them throughout the playoffs, making two game-winning kicks, one of which sent them to the Super Bowl.
Evan McPherson has two game-winning field goals in the playoffs vs. Titans in the Divisional Round vs. Chiefs in the AFC Championship game He's a rookie and he's already making history pic.twitter.com/qJ72PYGKIz — SB Nation (@SBNation) January 30, 2022
As far as things go for the Browns, it seems as though they haven’t had a reliable kicker since the great Phil Dawson. In his Browns career, Dawson finished 305 for 363 in field goals with 358 extra points, totaling 1271 points for the Browns in his career in Cleveland, which lasted from 1999-2012.
Selecting A Kicker
Dating back to just last season, the Browns missed some timely kicks, ones that took place in games like the Raiders game as well as the Christmas Day game in Green Bay. Kickers are more important than some may think, which is why the Browns decided to take a kicker in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft.
The Browns selecting York makes it the earliest a kicker has been taken since the 2016 NFL Draft when the Buccaneers selected kicker Roberto Aguayo. York had a very solid career at LSU, as he finished second in LSU history in career field goals as well as fourth in school history in field goal attempts with 64. York earned Second-Team All-American Honors in 2020, as well as All-SEC selections in both 2020-2021.
When it comes to kicking at First Energy Stadium, the elements are a huge factor and something that you are never able to predict. Kicking from a distance is one thing, as York managed to go 15 for 19 in college on kicks of 50 yards or more, but kicking in the elements is another. York, however, seems to be able to do both, as he kicked a 57-yard game-winner in nothing but fog.
This kick set multiple different records; it was York’s fifth made field goal of the season of 50+ yards, breaking the tie for the most in the FBS that season. It was also the longest kick made in LSU history (ESPN Stats & Info).
Cade York In Camp
In the limited group activity and minicamps that the team has been able to old, York has already been impressive, nailing kicks from 60 yards out. Yes, there is no pressure or elements currently to deal with in the off-season, but 60 yards out is still impressive no matter the situation. York has already been told that the position is all his and that heading into training camp and pre-season he will not have any competition. For a rookie, that seems like a pretty good confidence booster.
Now that the Browns have made the franchise-altering move of trading for quarterback Deshaun Watson, there is no more room for losing games because of kicker-related issues. Again, drafting York in the third-round was a bold statement, one that shows they are ready to be a complete team from top to bottom and are ready to compete for things they haven’t ever been able to accomplish.