If you’re asking Bleacher Report about the Buffalo Bills and their punter situation, their answer is clear: Matt Araiza is the man for the job.
The “Punt God” was selected by Buffalo at the 2022 NFL draft in the sixth round. Arazia won’t have a job handed to him with the Bills as he’ll enter a training camp battle with incumbent Matt Haack.
But Araiza is clearly the one B/R thinks will win that position because he was named on one of the outlet’s recent lists. B/R named one “surprise rookie gem” for each NFL team and Araiza was the choice.
Here’s the breakdown:
How could we not include the Punt God? The Buffalo Bills snatched up Matt Araiza with the first pick in the sixth round. Shockingly, the San Diego State product wasn’t the first punter taken despite his ability to boom kicks over 80 yards.
He likely won’t often see the field as a rookie. After all, Buffalo tied for the sixth-fewest punts in the league last year with 53. Nevertheless, the Bills upgraded from Matt Haack to Araiza.
His rare ability to flip the field may lack polish of punters who are masters of pinning offenses inside their 10-yard line, but the dynamic he brings is so much more valuable. Araiza can force opposing offenses to travel an extra 10 or more yards on every punt from within their 30-yard line. No other team has that luxury.
What can make him a surprise is the actual impact that occasional punts can bring. Unsurprisingly, the farther an offense has to travel to score, the less likely they are to do so. Even a 5 percent improvement in Buffalo’s scoring defense last year may have been the difference between advancing to the Super Bowl and losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.
Araiza comes to Buffalo will the kicking skills, that’s known. But the one thing he must improve has nothing to do with that.
In college, Araiza was a punter and place kicker. Because of that, he didn’t hold. If Araiza can master that this offseason, he has a good chance to take the job from Haack.
In his own right, Haack does have the NFL experience on Araiza. However, he struggled in his first season in Buffalo in 2021. So much so, the Bills restructured his deal which included a pay cut this spring.
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