PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – At this time last year, there was no chance the Steelers were thinking about a new kicker.
Chris Boswell was coming off of a Pro Bowl season filled with clutch and game-winning kicks. He was inked to a new five-year deal worth nearly $20 million during training camp.
But a lot can change in one year, as Boswell suffered a nightmare in 2018. Statistically one of the worst kickers in the NFL, Boswell lost his clutch touch and was even having a hard time kicking extra points during games. Head coach Mike Tomlin opened up the position with a competition that brought free agents Matt McCrane and Kai Forbath to fight for the job while former Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham made an appearance to help Boswell get through his issues in a practice.
Boswell ended up winning the open position battle, but the shaky performances would continue. Boswell ended up being placed on IR with an injury in the last week in the season, ending his 2019 campaign 13/20 for field goals and 43/48 for extra points. Matt McCrane signed with the team and made both attempts in the season finale against Cincinnati.
The Steelers have 10 picks and one of the later round selections could be used on a new kicker. I don’t think it happens, but I wouldn’t rule it out after the disaster that was 2018.
Options include LSU’s Cole Tracy who is regarded as the best kicker in the draft. Tracy was 29/33 for field goals last season while converting all 42 extra point attempts. His 2018 longest kick was 54 yards.
John Baron from San Diego State is also a name to remember. Baron was impressive in the East-West Shrine Game practices. He has a big left foot and was a perfect 5/5 from the 50 yard range.
Not many kickers get drafted, but those two could hear their name called very late in the 2019 draft, but probably not by the Steelers.