It looks like Baker Mayfield has some company from Norman joining him. With the 170th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…Austin Seibert, kicker, Oklahoma University. My initial reaction was why did you take a kicker in the fifth round? Genard Avery was a fifth-round pick and look what a force he has turned into. The point being, wouldn’t you want to pursue a more impactful position than kicker? It is certainly a valid argument, however, our memories can be short so let me refresh yours for the Browns’ recent history.
After Phil Dawson bolted for the bay, the Browns kind of spun their wheels at the position for what felt like an eternity. Two years ago, they took Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez in the draft, who had about as much consistency nailing the uprights as throwing darts with a blindfold on. GM John Dorsey had little tolerance for not only the lack of clutch play by Gonzalez but the basic ability to hit extra points.
As the Sun Devil product was dismissed last year, the team was quick to sign Florida Atlantic University kicker Greg Joseph. Joseph was much more productive for the Browns than his predecessor, especially on field goals, though he too seemed to wrestle with point-after-attempts throughout the 2018 schedule. We all knew Dorsey would bring another kicker in to give Joseph competition, whether that would be through free agency or the draft.
Personally, I expected a free agent signing, but Dorsey has proven me wrong yet again.
Enter Austin Seibert.
The former Sooner comes to the Browns as the all-time leading scorer for Oklahoma University with an impressive 499 points. In his three seasons there, he set a school record with 162 consecutive extra points made.
That is impressive, no doubt. His 80% success rate on field goals may leave some a little concerned, but to put things in perspective, former Bears kicker Kevin Butler had a career 73% success rate on field goals. Current Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski comes in at 87%. That puts Seibert smack dab in the middle, although the big difference is his numbers are the fact that they are college stats. This is definitely a case of ‘time will tell’.
As for picking Seibert in the fifth round, yes, I was surprised, but here is maybe why we shouldn’t be. He was one of the more impressive kickers in the draft, and we all know how few and far between kickers are taken in the draft. The Browns knew they needed to address this position, likely targeted Seibert already, and feared he would be gone by the time they were up next in the sixth round with the 189th pick. With that rationale, I can appreciate the pick. As with any draftee though, college is one thing, pros are another. It will be time for Austin Seibert to produce immediately once training camp opens.