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Cheese Curds, 5/17: Packers take unconventional route by drafting two specialists

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The Packers did something in the 2018 NFL Draft that they hadn’t done in 29 years.

NFL: Green Bay Packers-Rookie Minicamp Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

How does one really scout a specialist?

That’s one question that is dominating the discussion about Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst’s first NFL Draft at the helm of the franchise. He selected a punter and a long snapper at picks 172 and 239, respectively, and now the team must figure out how to use those players.

However, doing that is easier said than done. As we’ll learn in today’s curds, special teams coaches aren’t often well-versed in the finer points of kicking, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to extrapolate that out to snapping technique either. Therefore, it largely relies on the players themselves to make any tweaks that are necessary to their form in order to maintain their consistency.

The decision to draft two specialists was also an unusual one for the Packers, who had not drafted a dedicated special teamer since picking Mason Crosby 193rd overall in 2007. However, drafting JK Scott in round five was hardly the highest pick used on a specialist, even in the last two decades. The Packers picked three such players between rounds three and four from 1997 to 2004: third-round kicker Brett Conway in ‘97, fourth-round punter Josh Bidwell in ‘99, and third-round punter B.J. Sander in 2003.

In addition, this was the first time that the Packers drafted two specialists since the draft moved to its current seven-round format. The last time they drafted two such players was in 1989 (kicker Chris Jacke and punter Brian Shulman).

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Special teams coaches are notorious for not understanding the finer mechanics of kicking and punting. So if the coaching staff can't really tell good ones from bad ones, how are the scouts expected to do so?

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