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Solidifying the kicker spot remains Chargers’ biggest need

Everyone’s favorite position just got some competition.

Pittsburgh v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

After blowing the team away with a notable rookie season, one that included a franchise-record 59-yard field goal, Michael Badgley’s consistency has seen better days. This past year, Badgley was second in the NFL with 12 missed kickers, behind only Dan Bailey’s 13 with the Vikings.

The biggest difference between the two right now is that Badgley is still with his 2020 team and Bailey is not. The Vikings parted ways with the veteran just one year after signing him to a three-year contract extension that he earned for posting a field goal percentage of 93.1 in 2019.

After former head coach Anthony Lynn chose not to bring in competition for Badgley prior to his forgetful 2020 campaign, Brandon Staley and his staff wasted no time in signing former Bengal Tristan Vizcaino this past March. A month and a half later, the team signed former Pitt kicker Alex Kessman as part of their 2021 undrafted free agent haul, giving Badgley not one, but two other kickers to battle in training camp.

Kessman’s addition is intriguing simply based on where he saw success at the college level.

With an overall career field-goal percentage of 72.6, Kessman was just an average performer for the Panthers. However, he left Pitt as the program’s record-holder for the longest field goal in a game at 58 yards and held a final mark of 12-for-18 from 50 yards and beyond. Twice in his career, including this past season, Kessman recorded at least four field goals of over 50 yards in a season. According to Pitts’ official team site, Kessman’s conversion percentage from 50+ yards set an NCAA record (minimum 15 attempts).

For contrast, Badgley is currently three-of-nine from 50+ yards, including two-of-six this past season.

As far as what Vizcaino brings to the competition, he’s only attempted three kicks in his career thus far and he made all three of them. Those came while with the 49ers this past season when he stepped in for Robbie Gould, who was in COVID-19 protocols, against the Seahawks in Week 17.

For the first time recent memory, the Chargers have a trio of kickers that they’ll evaluate over the remainder of the offseason and for their sake, you either hope the competition brings out the best in Badgley or the likes of either Vizcaino or Kessman become who the Chargers desperately need them to be.