In a surprise move, the Green Bay Packers have waived punter Justin Vogel per a report by Adam Schefter. The team is apparently enamored enough with 5th round draft choice JK Scott that they did not even feel the need to hold a competition.
Vogel is second all time among Packer punters in yards per punt (to Jon Ryan), and finished 2017 ninth in the league in Net Average at 41.6 yards per punt without suffering a block. However, his impressive statistics punting in a difficult environment were not enough to save him. Vogel was playing on a three year rookie deal, and was slated to make $555,000 in 2018.
Scott was one of the better punters in college football for the Crimson Tide, but was a bit down in his senior season with a 43.0 yards/punt average after averaging a robust 47.2 yards per punt in 2016. Of course, it’s difficult to scout college punters on elite teams. It is possible Scott’s decline from 2016 to 2017 is entirely based on Alabama’s special teams strategy. It’s also possible Scott is bolstered by having a special teams cast populated by five star recruits as his lone 60-plus yard punt in 2017 had the benefit of a 28-yard roll.
Drafting a punter will always be controversial, even this late in the draft, but it’s pretty clear that the Packers believe in their selection. Hopefully Scott turns into the next Johnny Hekker. Me, I’ll be keeping an eye on former Badger Jack Cichy, who went with the 202nd pick, and wondering what might have been.