They don’t get as much love as the skill position guys, but trust us: You need a reliable and clutch kicker to win in the NFL.
What if the New England Patriots didn’t have Adam Vinatieri or Stephen Gostkowski for their two dynastic runs in the 21st century? What if Scott Norwood and Gary Anderson had legacies of heroes instead of scapegoats?
You can see where we’re going with this. So without further ado, let’s dive into our first-ever list of rankings for all 32 NFL team’s kickers — going from worst to first.
32. Brandon Aubrey (Dallas Cowboys)
This multi-sport athlete and former MLS soccer player was on the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions before landing with the Cowboys. Needless to say, Mike McCarthy and company are taking a huge risk in employing a 28-year-old who’s never played an NFL game.
Hey, he can’t be any worse than Brett Maher in the Cowboys’ Wild Card Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season?
At any rate, expect Aubrey to be on a short leash. If he has one or two bad games, Dallas won’t hesitate to pick up a proven veteran.
31. Blake Grupe (New Orleans Saints)
In a surprise move, the Saints traded the ultra-reliable Wil Lutz to Denver and opted to give undrafted rookie Blake Grupe a try.
The Notre Dame product, like Aubrey, will definitely be on a short leash here. He’s gotta be consistent from the get-go to retain his job.
30. Anders Carlson (Green Bay Packers)
The Packers bid farewell to longtime fan favorite Mason Crosby and replaced him with Auburn product and rookie Anders Carlson.
The Packers have one of the best scouting departments in the game. But only time will tell their decision to go out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new will work…
29. Chad Ryland (New England Patriots)
In another surprise kicker move, Bill Belichick traded a safe option in Nick Folk to Tennessee. They too are going with a rookie kicker in Chad Ryland, a fourth-round draft choice out of Maryland.
Belichick obviously thinks highly of Ryland if he was willing to take him that early. The Patriots have never had special teams issues with Belichick as head coach…so trust the process…we guess?
28. Jake Moody (San Francisco 49ers)
Hey look! Another rookie kicker.
Robbie Gould’s superb 87.5 field goal percentage over six seasons in San Francisco wasn’t enough. They parted ways with him and used the No. 99 selection on Michigan kicker Jake Moody.
Curious move considering that Moody made a “meh” 82.9 percent of his field goals last year — a major drop from the 92.0 percent he had in 2021. Does it work out for the 2022 NFC runner-ups? Stay tuned.
27. Chase McLaughlin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Ryan Succop had a nice run in Tampa, but the Bucs decided to give journeyman Chase McLaughlin a look at kicker.
The latter made 83.3 percent of field goal attempts in Indianapolis last year — and he was good on all 21 extra point attempts. Granted, that was inside a dome. Let’s see how he does in Tampa Bay’s subtropical conditions.
26. Joey Slye (Washington Commanders)
After suiting up for three different teams in 2021, Slye landed the full-time kicking job in Washington last season. He made 83.3 percent of field goal attempts but missed four extra point attempts…so take that as you will.
25. Brett Maher (Los Angeles Rams)
The Rams’ decision to move on from Matt Gay and replace him with a guy on his third team in as many seasons is…interesting. Maher, as you’ll recall, missed FOUR extra points in the Cowboys’ playoff win over Tampa.
It’s hard to ignore that, even if he had a 90.6 percent success rate on field goals while making 50 of 53 extra point attempts.
24. Greg Zuerlein (New York Jets)
In 2022, NFL kickers combined to make 85.0 percent of field goal attempts. Zuerlein has been below that number in four straight years now, so we’re honestly surprised to see him employed over the likes of Mason Crosby, Robbie Gould and Ryan Succup.
There’s a reason the Rams and Cowboys were keen to move on from “Greg the Leg.” Don’t be surprised if he’s among the first kickers cut.
23. Greg Joseph (Minnesota Vikings)
The Florida Atlantic product made just 78.8 percent of his attempts, going a woeful 4-for-10 in attempts of 50-plus yards – not to mention that he also missed six extra point attempts.
Like the others ranked in the bottom-third portion of this list, expect Joseph to be on a short leash. A bad game or two should quickly lead to Minnesota looking for a replacement.
22. Matt Prater (Arizona Cardinals)
After a couple of shaky seasons, Prater regained his strong form and made 88 percent of kicks for Arizona last year — as well as 17 of 18 extra point attempts.
Prater might be a lot busier than usual this year, because Arizona is going to struggle to get the ball in the end zone without Kyler Murray. Hopefully his leg is ready for a LOT of 50-plus-yard attempts.
21. Riley Patterson (Detroit Lions)
Patterson made 30 of 35 attempts and missed just one extra point last season. And of course, he booted the game-winning field goal for the Jaguars to complete the historic comeback against the Chargers in the Wild Card Round.
So Jacksonville’s decision to not bring back Patterson left us a little surprised. But hey, he’ll have it much easier kicking indoors in Detroit’s home venue of Ford Field.
20. Brandon McManus (Jacksonville Jaguars)
McManus’ lackluster field goal percentage of 77.8 was enough to cost him his job in Denver, with Sean Payton instead opting to reunite with old friend Wil Lutz.
A Super Bowl 50 champion with the Broncos, McManus has especially struggled from deep range — going just 40-of-72 from 50-plus yards. He’s at least a near-guarantee on extra point attempts, making 277 of 286 for his career.
The pressure will be on him to provide consistency on a win-now team like the Jaguars, though. Again, anything less than a strong start could cost McManus his job.
19. Nick Folk (Tennessee Titans)
Over four years in New England, Folk made 89.3 percent of kicks — going above 90 percent in 2020 and 2021. Despite making 86.5 percent of his attempts last season, Bill Belichick decided to make a change.
So now Folk gets a chance to shine again in Tennessee, a team that has lacked a reliable kicker for several years now. His track record outside of New England has been spotty, so let’s see how he does with a fresh start…
18. Jason Sanders (Miami Dolphins)
“Hot-and-cold” would be a good way to describe Sanders’ career: Two seasons with a 90-plus percent success rate, two seasons with a percentage in the 70s and one season with an 81.3 percentage.
Sanders is like a box full of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get. With Miami trying to make the jump to Super Bowl contender, you wonder if Sanders is also on thin ice this year.
17. Dustin Hopkins (Cleveland Browns)
Hopkins was money for the Chargers last season, but it’s a shame injuries caused him to miss all but five games last year. He was nine-of-10 on field goals and a perfect 12-for-12 on extra points.
But one thing to keep an eye on: Hopkins is only 15-of-30 from field goals at 50 yards and beyond. That number is going to have to improve if he’s to finish out the year as the Browns’ kicker — which is easier said than done in Cleveland’s colder climate.
16. Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Boswell was uncharacteristically sloppy last year, making just 71.4 percent of field goal attempts in 12 games. But considering that he enters 2023 with the 11th-best field goal percentage in NFL history at 86.325 percent? That means positive regression is coming his way.
Also, a 94.7 percent extra point percentage is near-automatic. Pittsburgh could do a LOT worse here.
15. Ka'imi Fairbairn (Houston Texans)
Fairbairn is coming off a remarkable career year in which he made 93.5 percent of field goal attempts and every single PAT.
With an 85.5 percent career field goal percentage for his career, Fairbairn has proven to be ultra-reliable in H-Town. You just don’t notice because the Texans have been unwatchable for a few years now.
14. Cameron Dicker (Los Angeles Chargers)
Short sample size, yes, but Dicker has made 20 of 21 career field goal attempts and all 24 extra point attempts. He only doesn’t rank higher because, well, the dude’s only played 11 games.
Let’s see how “Dicker the Kicker” performs through the slate of a full season. We also hate to be those people, but he is a Chargers kicker — and those guys tend to be badly snake-bitten. Let’s see if he can break the jinx once and for all…
13. Wil Lutz (Denver Broncos)
Lutz had a woeful final year in New Orleans, going just 74.2 percent — though he was a perfect 33-for-33 on extra points.
But under Sean Payton, Lutz was among the most reliable in the game. Not to mention he enters 2023 just outside the top 20 in career field goal percentage. Playing in the air of Mile High City is a nice advantage for Lutz and his strong leg.
12. Cairo Santos (Chicago Bears)
Santos has found a nice home with the Bears, making 89.7 percent of attempts over his three seasons with the club — going above 91 percent in both 2020 and 2022.
Impressive considering the “Windy City” conditions he’s gotta deal with at Soldier Field. That said, he needs to regain consistency on extra points after missing five a year ago.
11. Matt Gay (Indianapolis Colts)
The Rams’ decision to move on from Gay was awfully surprising. His field goal percentage was above 93 percent in both 2021 and 2022, and he had missed just two total extra point attempts over that span.
Not to mention his clutch gene, having booted game-winning field goals in the 2021 Divisional Round and NFC Championship. But hey, the Rams’ loss is a nice gain for the Colts. They’ll come to appreciate his reliability and consistency very quickly.
10. Eddy Pineiro (Carolina Panthers)
Only a few things went right in Carolina last year, and Pineiro’s grade-A performance as a kicker was one of them. Playing his first full season since 2019, Pineiro was a clean 33-of-35 for field goals — missing just one attempt from 40-plus yards.
Pineiro was also 30-of-32 on extra point attempts. Now let’s see if he can sustain that momentum through the course of a full season…
9. Graham Gano (New York Giants)
The ex-Washington kicker and longtime Panther has been absolute money since joining the Giants in 2020, making 91.8 percent of field goals, 20 of 25 field goals from 50-plus out and 70 of 74 field goal attempts.
Gano was the secret weapon of the Giants’ unexpected success last season. If he can retain that consistency here in 2023, he’ll play his way into the conversation as a top-five kicker in football.
8. Tyler Bass (Buffalo Bills)
He doesn’t get enough credit for his consistency, but such is life when you play on a team that churns out a top-five offense and defense each year.
Bass was above 87 percent in both 2021 and 2022, and he’s missed just four of 160 career extra point attempts. Because the Bills score so freaking much, he’s a must-have for your fantasy leagues.
7. Jake Elliott (Philadelphia Eagles)
A forgettable 2020 season aside, Elliott has been 83.9 percent or better every year since his 2017 rookie year. And no, we didn’t forget how clutch he was in the Eagles’ Super Bowl 52 championship-winning season.
Remarkably, Elliott has only missed two of 97 extra point attempts over the last two years. The Eagles have one of the game’s few reliable and consistent kickers – and it’s a big reason why they remain an annual playoff contender.
6. Daniel Carlson (Las Vegas Raiders)
Fun fact: Carlson enters 2023 with the third-best career field goal percentage at 88.272 percent. So there’s something for the Raiders to celebrate…
Carlson has kicked above 91 percent in three straight seasons and is 95.5 percent for his career in extra points. You simply can’t ask for much better from a guy who had a disastrous two-game stint in Minnesota way-back-when in 2018.
What can we say? The man has come a long way!
5. Evan McPherson (Cincinnati Bengals)
McPherson’s percentage won’t jump out compared to other active kickers. But consider that he was 14-of-16 from 50-plus yards through his first two seasons, 86-of-92 on extra points PLUS a perfect 19-for-19 in seven playoff games.
Can’t forget that he booted the game-winning field goals in the 2021 Divisional Round and AFC Championship Games. He’ll miss the odd one from 40-something yards out, but you almost can’t beat McPherson’s clutch gene nor consistency from long range.
4. Jason Myers (Seattle Seahawks)
Myers was never gonna repeat his perfect field goal percentage from 2020, where he went 24 of 24. After a rough outing in 2021, he bounced back with a superb 91.9 FG percentage while making all but one of 42 extra point attempts.
The two-time Pro Bowler has found a nice home in Seattle, and he’s playing his way closer to top-3 kicker status…
3. Harrison Butker (Kansas City Chiefs)
Butker enters 2023 with the fourth-best career field goal percentage. He was a very disappointing 75 percent last year, but we’re merely chalking that down as bad luck. I mean, he’s been 88.9 percent or better every other year.
Butker has also been flawless in clutch situations, making every big field goal asked of him — including the game-winner in last year’s AFC Championship Game vs. Cincy. It’s unfair how a team with the league’s best QB and coach also has a top-3 kicker, isn’t it
2. Younghoe Koo (Atlanta Falcons)
Koo’s success in Atlanta has, believe it or not, vaulted him to second on the all-time career field goal percentage at 89.051. Take a guess on who’s the only guy ahead of him.
Koo made 90.8 percent of kicks through his first three seasons in Atlanta and 111 of 117 extra point attempts. The man is almost as automatic as the No. guy on our list…
1. Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens)
Was there ever really any doubt on this one? He’s the best kicker ever, pure and simple: The all-time leader in field goal percentage at 90.524 percent, the holder of the longest field goal ever at 66 yards. Six Pro Bowl nods. Five first-team all-pro selections. A Super Bowl 47 ring…on and on it goes.
Tucker is Mr. Automatic – especially in crunch time. If there’s one active kicker who’s going to Canton, it’s the man who wears No. 9 in Baltimore. He’s likely to retain this spot until he retires, what say you?
Who do you think is the NFL’s best kicker heading into 2023?
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