NY Jets might target a punter in the 2020 NFL Draft

NY Jets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets reportedly might be targeting a punter in the 2020 NFL Draft with the incumbent Lachlan Edwards unlikely to return next season.

The NY Jets could be in for a special teams shakeup next season with reports that the team is unlikely to re-sign punter Lachlan Edwards. These reports aren’t new, but what is new is how the team might be planning to replace him.

Connor Hughes of The Athletic reported on Monday that the team will “likely look for their Week 1 punter in the draft.” This comes following reports from Hughes among others that the team will be letting Edwards walk in free agency.

Edwards has spent the last four seasons as the Jets’ punter after originally entering the league in 2016. Interestingly enough, Edwards was taken by the Jets in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft and his eventual replacement could find a similar path to the NFL.

The Sam Houston State product spearheaded what has been one of the best special-teams units in the NFL over the past couple of years. After struggling early on in his career, Edwards turned things around to become one of the more consistent punters in the league.

And that’s a good thing too considering how busy he’s been.

No player punted more times in 2019 than Edwards who booted away 87 punts for just shy of 4,000 gross yards — both NFL-leading figures. Edwards ranked middle of the pack in net yards per punt averaging 41.6 yards per kick.

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However, his ratio of punts inside the 20-yard-line to touchbacks was among the best in the league with a ratio of 28 to only three touchbacks.

That last part has become his calling card as the Aussie punter may not have the strongest leg, but his hang time is among the best in the NFL. However, his coffin-corner skills have never been a strength and it’s likely the Jets want to improve on that area.

That means more pinning opponents inside the 5-yard-line and less simply inside the 20-yard-line.

The decision to let Edwards walk may surprise many, but it shouldn’t be too shocking. What does come as more of a surprise, however, is the Jets’ reported interest in landing one in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Gang Green has eight picks in the upcoming draft, but none in the seventh round. That means it’s likely the Jets would spend one of their two sixth-rounders on Edwards’ replacement.

Some of the top punters in this year’s draft class include Texas A&M’s Braden Mann, Georgia Southern’s Tyler Bass, and Miami’s (OH) Samuel Sloman.

Mann is the likeliest to be drafted with some sources listing him as early as a fifth-round prospect. The 2018 Ray Guy Award winner, given to the best punter in college football, could be the Jets’ newest specialist.

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It remains to be seen how the Jets will address the punter position. But it seems that the draft is looking more and more likely.