San Diego Chargers Draft Successes - #7 Mike Scifres

Oh yes, he can tackle. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It's almost unfortunate to have a Punter at this spot, but I thought it made the most sense. It's weird to call him a great value, because as a 5th round pick (149th overall) you'd almost expect a very-good Punter. 

The fact that punting is generally the same on every team, at every level, means you essentially know what you're getting when you draft a kid. The Chargers knew they were getting a fantastic and durable Punter, but that doesn't mean that his seven and a half seasons as one of the league's best Punters should be diminished.

When it comes to Punters, really the only stats that can tell you how good the guy is is average net yards per punt (that way you're also factoring airtime) and how many punts of his were downed inside the opposing team's 20 year line. Let's see how Scifres ranks on thos over the last few years.

Average net yards per punt

2010: 38th
2009: 13th
2008: 3rd
2007: 5th
2006: 8th

 

Punts downed inside opponents' 20

2010: 32nd
2009: 19th
2008: 20th
2007: 2nd
2006: 1st

Wow. Think the drop in Special Teams play might've effected him a little bit last season? Either way, despite never making an appearance at the Pro Bowl, Scifres is and has been a Pro Bowl-caliber player for nearly a decade now. Even though he's not an every-down player, that's still tremendous value from a 5th round pick.

Not to mention, different from 90% of the Punters around the league, Scifres is a leader on the team (obviously when, in 2009, he chewed out his teammates for not paying attention to a ball that bounced inside the opponents' 5 yard line before going into the end zone for a touchback) and doesn't seem to have any issues with tackling a returner as "the last line of defense". He truly goes above and beyond the call of duty for his job.


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