Most of the time kickers and punters are an afterthought in the NFL draft, relegated to the second day of the draft and the later rounds. However, every once in a while a team will spend a high draft pick on a specialist, in an effort to shore up their special teams for years to come. Here, in the 14th installment of the Draft Dose series, is a look at how that strategy has paid off:
PK Mike Nugent (second round, 47th overall)
Nugent was drafted by the Jets in 2005. Jets fans waited all day for this pick, as the team was without a first-round pick in '05. When the announcement came that the team had snagged a kicker, the reaction was decidedly mixed. Nugent played four seasons with the Jets, connecting on 82 percent of his field goals, before being cut loose. Nugent has bounced around the last three seasons, most recently kicking in nine games for the Bengals in 2010.
PK Nate Kaeding (3, 65)
Kaeding has been a regular-season rock for the Chargers since he was drafted in 2004. Kaeding has made 80 percent or better of his kicks every year he has been in the league, including a 91 percent mark in '09. Kaeding is a two-time Pro Bowl selection, as well as a first-team All-Pro selection in '09. The seventh-year kicker out of Iowa has struggled in the postseason, however, connecting on just 8-of-15 field-goal attempts.
PK Sebastian Janikowski (1, 17)
A first-round pick of the Raiders in 2000, Janikowski has spent his entire 11-year career in Oakland. A big kicker — he's listed as 6-2, 250 pounds — Janikowski has been known for his booming leg. As well as nailing touchbacks on kickoffs, Janikowski has made 29 field goals of more than 50 yards in his career. Janikowski has battled off-the-field issues during his stay in Oakland, having been cited for drunken driving and arrested for public drunkenness. Still, the Raiders have stood by him, and Janikowski ranks eighth among active kickers in points scored and fields goals made.
P Dustin Colquitt (3, 99)
Coming from the "Kicking Colquitts" family, Dustin Colquitt was selected by the Chiefs in 2005. The first punter on our list, Colquitt has been the Chiefs' punter ever since, with a 44.1 yards per punt career average. Colquitt has yet to make a Pro Bowl (mainly due to Shane Lechler's stranglehold on the nod), but he has recorded one of the top five longest punts each of the last five years.
P B.J. Sander (3, 87)
A third-round pick out of Ohio State, Sander lasted just one season in the league. Sander punted in 14 games for the Packers in 2005, his rookie season, and couldn't muster more than a 39.2-yard per punt average. Sander was released in '06, before bouncing around a few other teams, but he never got into a regular-season game again. Sander ranks as the biggest draft bust on this list, and a warning to all those GMs who want to snag a punter with an early draft pick.
P Todd Sauerbrun (2, 56)
Drafted by the Bears out of West Virginia in 1995, Sauerbrun lasted 13 seasons in the NFL, appeared in three Pro Bowls, and was a first-team All-Pro selection twice. After playing five seasons with the Bears, Sauerbrun kicked for four other teams in his career. Sauerbrun ranks 21st all-time in yards per punt, and is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Sander: a high pick spent on a punter that paid huge dividends.