Drafting a punter in any round is usually a gamble, so it's good to see Chicago Bears 6th round draft pick Pat O'Donnell finish up as the best rookie punter for the 2014 season according to Mel Kiper of ESPN. I probably should mention that he was the only rookie punter to punt during the season, but what the heck, as Bear fans we should revel in the award.
Now that living legend Patrick Mannelly has retired, we need another special teamer to throw our outlandish support behind. Why can't that guy be another Pat?
Here's what Kiper said about O'Donnell.
Hey, I'll take it: Another preseason pick that worked out. O'Donnell can be better -- the 37.7 net average isn't particularly impressive -- but he tops the group.
Tops the group? Well, technically that is right, be it a group of one.
O'Donnell's net average of 37.7 was 28th best in the NFL. His average of 43.8 was 27th. He had 20 punts placed inside the 20, which was 28th.
During his 2013 season at the University of Miami his punting average was 47.1, so you can see what a big leg he has. I think an off season of working solely on his craft will allow him to come back and have a much improved 2015 season.