No, we haven’t yet seen a blistering-fast 40-yard dash time from a cornerback or receiver. We haven’t witnessed a defensive lineman or offensive lineman put up a herculean effort in the bench press. And no quarterbacks or middle linebackers have yet to craft a perfect Wonderlic score. But it’s only because they haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet.
Before much of that can occur, it’ll be the place kickers who take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for their on-field work. That will take place on Friday. While it may not be as interesting to pay attention to the on-field performances of the place kickers, it’s still an important part of the Combine process. Look no further than your very own Vikings for an illustration of that point. It was after an impressive Combine showing and then a pre-draft visit from Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer that put Blair Walsh on the Vikings map a year ago.
“Tremendous kickoff leg,” Vikings GM Rick Spielman quickly said when asked to reflect on Walsh’s Combine performance last year. “And then Mike Priefer seeing some technical flaws that he had and then when we went down and worked him out in Athens (GA), how quickly he adapted to some of the stuff that Mike adjusted with him.”
The Vikings were rewarded for doing their due diligence on a kicker before, during and after the Combine. Eventually the Vikings tabbed Walsh with a 6th-round choice and he went on to have a Pro Bowl rookie season, converting 35 of 38 FG tries and hitting 10 of 10 attempts from 50+ yards along the way. He also set a team record for touchbacks and he finished the regular season with 141 points, the second-highest scoring season in team history.
Tags: 2013 Scouting Combine, Blair Walsh, Rick Spielman
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