Let’s assume Jake Elliot, the first kicker selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, will win the Bengals’ kicking competition and make the 53-man roster. Now that the caveat is out of the way, let’s explore what a successful rookie season should reasonably look like for Elliott, a fifth round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
From inside of 30 yards, Elliott never missed a kick at Memphis. He was 226 for 226 from that range, which includes extra point attempts. During the past four seasons, the Bengals have averaged six attempts from inside of 30 yards per year. So we can reasonably assume Elliott hits six of six from this range, with his career 100 percent accuracy. In creating expectation for Elliott, there are going to be a lot of assumptions and maybe even some reaches in decision making, but bear with us...
6 for 6 from 0 to 29 yards
Elliott’s shakiest range is inexplicably the 30-39 yard range. Last season he made 71 percent of these kicks, and made 72 percent of them in his college career. The Bengals have averaged seven attempts from this range during the past four seasons, so let’s assume Elliott make five of these seven kicks, which is 71 percent - right in line with his college average with the Tigers.
5 for 7 from 30 to 39 yards
Outside of a shaky sophomore season, Elliott has been pretty reliable in the 40 to 49 yard range. In fact, he’s been better at this range than the 30 to 39 yard range. He’s made about 85 percent of these kicks during that span. In the past four years, the Bengals have averaged 11 kicks from this range. If we assume Elliott attempts an even dozen, and makes 10 of them, that would be an 83 percent success rate, which is pretty much in line with his historical track record.
10 for 12 from 40 to 49 yards
Again, outside of that sophomore season, Elliott was nearly perfect on long kicks, making seven of eight from beyond fifty yards, and successfully making at least a pair of them every year. Contrast this with former Bengals kicker Mike Nugent’s two for nine production during the last few seasons, and you see where Elliott can really separate himself from what the Bengals have experienced at the kicker position. The Bengals have only averaged about three kicks from this distance during the past four seasons, but that’s partly a factor of who they employed at the kicker position. With Elliott on the roster, we can assume an uptick in long attempts – even from the very conservative Marvin Lewis.
4 for 5 from 50 or more yards.
Throwing all of these numbers together results in a kicker who makes 25 of 30 field goals for an accuracy of 83 percent. It’s not exactly a 90 percent result one would want from a Pro Bowl kicker, nor is it the stellar 97 percent accuracy that Justin Tucker provided for the Baltimore Ravens last year. But if Elliott makes 83 percent of his field goal attempts this season, it would provide the Bengals the highest field goal accuracy they have enjoyed since 2011, when Nugent made 86.8 percent of his field goal attempts (which was aided by not pursuing a single kick from 50 yards).
25 for 30 on field goal attempts in 2017
Granted, these are all projections based on past results, and not an attempt to perform some sort of soothsaying or anything. And, college results do not equate to NFL results, so there’s reason to believe things could change for better or worse with Elliott at the NFL level. But I’d argue it’s reasonable to set the bar for Elliott to make 25 of 30 field goals this season. If he can accomplish that, I’d call it a successful rookie season for the kicker. Do you agree?
What would make 2017 a successful season for rookie kicker Jake Elliott?
This poll is closed
At least 90% of his kicks made, plus a Pro Bowl. I’ve got high expectations for this kid!
Somewhere around 25 for 30 seems about right.
Anything better than Roberto Aguayo’s abysmal 2016 would be a success.