Ewing: Punters and Haiku

Last Updated: 10/14/2014 10:06 AM ET

PredictionMachine.com Analytics Coordinator, John Ewing, again picks up where Matt and Paul left off with the NFL Draft, this time with punters...

The Specialist
Coffin corner kick
A field position battle
The boys of hang time

What do Japanese poetry and college punters have in common? Honestly, not much. However, determining the best of either is often open to interpretation. Therein lies the problem. Since 2000, NFL teams have spent 24 picks on punters with the average selection coming in the 5th round. General Managers look at many statistics when evaluating punters including gross punting yards, longest punt, gross punting average, net punting average, punts inside the 20 yard line, touchbacks, fair catches, punts returned, yards returned on punts, average return yards on punts and the list goes on. I have simplified the evaluation process by looking at two statistics, number of punts and gross punting average.

I selected these two statistics because, in my assessment of punters selected in previous drafts, the number of punts and the gross punting average has been a good indicator of a punter's success. (Reader's note: Number of punts and gross punting average are statistics kept by every program while "hang time," for example, is not.) Specifically, we are looking for punters who had over 200 punts in their career and at least a 42 yard average.

Top Tier
Bryan Anger, California: Number of punts: 253, Gross punting average: 43.7 yards

Second Tier
Kyle Martens, Rice: Number of punts: 230, Gross punting average: 43 yards
Brian Stahovich, San Diego State: Number of punts: 246, Gross punting average: 42.9 yards

Third Tier
Shawn Powell, Florida State: Number of punts: 168, Gross punting average: 44.2 yards
Brad Nortman, Wisconsin: Number of punts: 199, Gross punting average: 42.1 yards
Ryan Tydlacka, Kentucky: Number of punts: 212, Gross punting average: 41.9 yards