Kickers are some of the most underrated players in the NFL. They contribute a great deal to whether a team wins or loses a game and there is a lot of pressure on them in most situations when they are in on a play. Historically though, kickers are not drafted that high.
We wanted to take a look today at the highest drafted kickers in NFL history. In reverse order, here is the top ten.
10. Jason Hanson – Washington State University
In 1992, the Detroit Lions used their 2nd round pick, the 56th overall, to select Jason Hanson. Hanson would kick for the team for 20 years, working his way into being one of the best ever.
9. Chip Lohmiller – University of Minnesota
The Washington Redskins selected Chip Lohmiller with the 55th overall pick, a second rounder, in 1988. He would have some great seasons and contribute to some of Washington’s best teams.
8. Chris Bahr – Penn State University
In 1976, the Cincinnati Bengals used their second round pick, the 51st overall selection of the draft, to take Penn State’s Chris Bahr. Bahr would kick in the NFL for more than 14 years for the Bengals, Raiders, and Chargers.
7. Mike Nugent – Ohio State University
In 2005, the New York Jets selected kicker Mike Nugent in the second round with the 47th pick overall. He stayed with the Jets for four seasons before moving on to short stays with the Cardinals, Buccaneers, and Bengals.
6. Jerry DePoyster – University of Wyoming
The 37th pick of the 1968 NFL Draft, a second round pick, was used by the Detroit Lions to choose Jerry DePoyster. He stayed in the league just five years and also kicked for the Oakland Raiders.
5. Chester Marcol – Hillsdale College
In 1972, the Green Bay Packers used their 2nd round pick, the 34th overall, on kicker Chester Marcol out of Hillsdale College in Michigan. Marcol would kick for the team until 1980. He is also one of just four players from Hillsdale to ever play in the NFL.
4. John Lee – UCLA
The St. Louis Cardinals used their second round pick, the 32nd overall, on two time All American kicker John Lee out of UCLA. Lee had set a great many records while kicking in college, many of which that still stand, but he was out of football after just one season.
3. Sebastian Janikowski – Florida State University
The Oakland Raiders used the 17th pick in the first round when they made Florida State’s Sebastian Janikowski the third kicker ever picked in the first round of the NFL Draft. Janikowski still kicks for the Raiders and has had a very successful career.
2. Steve Little – University of Arkansas
In 1978, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Steve Little with their first round pick, the 15th overall. Little would only start two seasons and after a third would be out of the NFL. Little would also punt during his short career.
1. Charlie Gogolak – Princeton University
In 1966, the Washington Redskins made Princeton’s Charlie Gogolak the first kicker ever selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He was one of the first “soccer style” kickers to play in the NFL and was somewhat successful during his seven year career. His brother Pete would also play in the NFL.
Kickers are very important, but are often not selected in the first round of NFL Drafts. In fact, the first NFL Draft was held in 1936 and since then only three kickers have been selected in the first round. Choosing kickers is a tough job for NFL teams, as is obvious by the fact that many of the highest drafted overall are not among the best kickers to ever play in the game.