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NFL Draft: A punter goes off the board in 4th round as Bears take Iowa’s Tory Taylor

In Sports
April 27, 2024
Iowa Hawkeyes punter Tory Taylor (9) was the first punter taken in the NFL Draft. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

At least the Chicago Bears had plenty of film on Iowa punter Tory Taylor.

Taylor was a frequent contributor to a Hawkeyes team that was offensively challenged; he got many chances to punt the ball away after a three-and-out. And he did very well punting the ball.

He did well enough that the Bears took Taylor in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Taylor was the first kicker or punter taken in this year’s draft.

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It’s rare to see a kicker or punter go that high, but it does happen. In 2022 two punters went in the fourth round, Jordan Stout to the Baltimore Ravens and Jake Camarda to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2019, the San Francisco 49ers took Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth round. Before Saturday, those were the only punters since 2012 to go in the fourth round or higher.

The Bears paid a lot but they got a good one. Taylor won the Ray Guy Award for the best punter in college football last season. He set a single-season record for punting yards, a record that had stood for 85 years, with 4,479 yards last season. Iowa really did punt a lot last season. His average per punt of 48.2 yards last season and his career average of 46.3 yards per punt also set NCAA records.

Having a good punter is an asset. The Bears paid up to get a punter, but at least they know what they’re getting.

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