The NY Jets have made their second-to-last scheduled pick of the 2020 NFL Draft and they did so by taking Texas A&M punter Braden Mann.
No, he isn’t as dominant as someone like Mekhi Becton. And he’s not as flashy as Denzel Mims. But Braden Mann is going to be the player to take the Jets to the next level and allow them to push for playoff contention in 2020.
Dare I say they’re Super Bowl favorites?
In all seriousness, Mann was the highest-graded punter by essentially all media outlets going into the draft with most projecting him to go no later than the fifth or sixth round. The Jets managed to snag him with the 191st pick in the draft — later than most thought he would be taken.
Mann was stuck behind Shane Tripucka for the first two years of his college career and wasn’t called on to be the Aggies’ full-time punter until his junior season. But as soon as he saw the field, he made a name for himself.
The Houston native set the NCAA record averaging 51.0 yards per punt en route to earning unanimous All-American honors and being awarded the Ray Guy Award given to the nation’s top punter.
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That season he also downed 19 of his 50 punts inside the 20-yard line and forced 11 fair catches. He followed that up with another impressive 2019 season in which he was named a second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC selection.
Mann racked up a whopping seven tackles as well proving that he was equally effective in punt coverage. On top of that, he served as Texas A&M’s primary kickoff man booting the vast majority of his kicks into the endzone.
Ultimately, the Jets opted to move on from Lachlan Edwards this offseason and they do so by selecting a polar-opposite punter in Braden Mann. While Edwards’ calling card was his impressive hang time, he didn’t have the strongest leg and wasn’t particularly adept in coffin-corner kicks.
Mann, on the other hand, has an absolute cannon of a leg regularly showing off his field-flipping ability in games last season. That combined with his ability to angle punts out of bounds inside the 10-yard line make him an improvement stylistically over Edwards.
Some will complain about drafting a punter in the first place, but Mann has all the makings of a 15-year pro with top-five punter potential. Yes, we’re analyzing punter potential now.
Punters are people too.
And this one just so happens to be a home-run pick here in the sixth round.
Final Grade: A-