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Patriots Position Audit: Specialists

Will Gostkowski be ready to go in time for training camp?

Until the NFL and the players put aside their difference and realize how much the game means to fans, the players will be locked out and free agency is on hold. Litigation between the league and the players is set to be heard in court on April 6. The draft will take place no matter what, but hopefully there is a new CBA before then. Throughout the past week, I have been evaluating each position on the Patriots’ roster, looking at its strength, depth, and need. I also included possible free agent signings at the position (should free agency ever get started) and possible draft picks. Today’s the final position audit, and it looks at the specialists.

Current Players on the Roster:

  • Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
  • Punter: Zoltan Mesko
  • Long Snapper: Matt Katula

Position Strength:

  • Moderate-to-Strong

Position Depth:

  • Moderate

Position Need:

  • Low

Possible Free Agent Pick-Ups:

  • K Shayne Graham

Possible Draft Picks:

  • None

Analysis:

The specialists on the Patriots are young and talented. Punter Zoltan Mesko, a rookie this past season, was consistent and solid in his opening season. He averaged 43.2 yards per punt (19th in the NFL) with a 38.4 yard net (11th in the NFL), a long punt of 65 yards (10th in the NFL), and dropped 19 punts inside the 20 (25th in the NFL). Long Snapper Matt Katula was signed a few weeks into the season to take the place of an ineffective Jake Ingram, and that was pretty much the last we heard of Katula. That’s a good thing, because if you ever hear a long snapper’s name it’s probably because he botched the snap. The lone concern is kicker Stephen Gostkowski, whose season ended early due to a thigh injury that landed him on IR. If he is fully recovered in time for training camp, then there should not be any concerns. If he’s not fully healed, the Pats could try and bring back Shayne Graham, who did a solid job filling for Gostkowski last season.

Previous Position Audits:

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Tags: Matt Katula New England Patriots NFL Patriots Roster Shayne Graham Special Teams Stephen Gostkowski Zoltan Mesko

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