The churn is already starting on special teams for the Green Bay Packers. Last month, the team signed long snapper Jack Coco following a rookie tryout and released kicker J.J. Molson, who had spent the entirety of the 2021 season on the Packers’ practice squad. On Monday, the Packers added to the movement by picking up former Oklahoma kicker Gabe Brkic off of the waiver wire via the Minnesota Vikings. The corresponding roster move Green Bay made to keep the roster at 90 players was to waive kicker Dominik Eberle, who had previous experience with special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia when they were with the Raiders together.
When Acme Packing Company took a look at the 2022 NFL draft class’ kickers from a quantitative perspective in February, Brkic seemed like the second-best bet in the class behind LSU’s Cade York. For reference, York was selected in the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns in April and was the only kicker drafted in the class.
The approach we took to grading the kickers was weighting their field goal attempts by distance and comparing their points versus expectation relative to the average of drafted placekickers since 2018. Using that approach, Brkic would have been the fourth-best kicking prospect in the last five years, behind Matt Gay, Evan McPherson and York. While York has yet to play an NFL game, Gay was a Pro Bowler in 2021 and McPherson was named to the All-Rookie Team by the Pro Football Writers of America last year.
OK K Gabe Brkic takes full advantage of his flexibility and long legs. Consistent approach and stays on top of the ball instead of falling away. Great trajectory on shorter FG but here he pounds a 56 yder into the stands. #SnapScout22 pic.twitter.com/IVLGZMhrQv— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) January 25, 2022
While at Oklahoma, Brkic played in 38 games, with 37 coming in his final three seasons, in which he made 57-of-69 field goal attempts and 159-of-160 PATs. In each of his three years of placekicking for the Sooners, he made a field goal of at least 50 yards. He kicked 264 kickoffs for an average of 61.6 yards and recorded 130 touchbacks to just three kickoffs out of bounds in his college career.
The then redshirt junior elected to skip his senior season and enter the draft after 2021. Along with York and Texas’ Cameron Dicker, Brkic was one of three placekickers to be invited to the 2022 NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis this winter.
Based on his pedigree, Brkic is probably the biggest offseason threat that longtime kicker Mason Crosby has faced in 2022. While Eberle and Molson had ties to Bisaccia and the organization, neither had the bonafide production that Brkic brings to the table.