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Draft INSIGHT: K Cade York

Round 6: Browns need the kicker position solved

LSU v UCLA Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Suspect.

That is what you can call the kicker position the past few years. Not that the Browns haven’t tried to solve this. In 2019 they selected Austin Seibert in the fifth round and two years prior Zane Gonzalez was taken in Round 7.

RELATED: BROWNS RETAIN K CHASE MCLAUGHLIN

Last year, incumbent Chase McLaughlin began the year red hot going 11 for 12 including several kicks of 50-yards plus. In the beginning he was Mr. Automatic, but then he started missing a kick a game and was 4-9 down the stretch. He struggled mightily on kicks in the 40-yard range and converted only 10 attempts at that distance which really hurt long drives.

Only one other kicker with 10 or more attempts in 2021 had a lower conversion rate than McLaughlin. Something needs to change.

Cade York is an exceptional kicker. In fact, in a list of the Top-250 players available for this year’s NFL draft, he is the only kicker listed. Kicks of 50-plus yards are his specialty. In warmups prior to last season’s SEC Championship Game, he nailed a 60-yarder. He beat Florida on a 57-yarder that was right down the center of the uprights.

Without a doubt, if the Browns’ special teams had a weapon like York it would become an instant game changer. Not only points could be accumulated on the scoreboard, but the coaching staff would go for long field goals instead of going for it so much on fourth down plays inside the opponent’s 40. A kicker who can seemingly hit from anywhere once passed the 50-yard line is rare in the NFL landscape.

Remember how the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Evan McPherson last year? This is Cleveland’s opportunity to do the same with pick #202 in the sixth round.

Specifics:

College: LSU

Height: 6’-1”

Weight: 198 pounds

Career total points: 326

Career starts: 37

Career FG attempts: 66

Career FG made: 54

Career FG %: 81.8

Career PAT attempts: 168

Career PAT made: 164

Career PAT %: 97.6

Positives:

  • Makes clutch kicks
  • Powerful leg
  • Distance accuracy
  • Hit a 59-yarder in high school
  • Former soccer star
  • Made 15 kicks of 50+
  • Immensely talented
  • Self-fixer
  • Academic Honor Roll
  • First Team All-SEC 2020
  • Second Team All-American 2021
  • Second Team All-SEC 2019, 2021

Negatives:

  • Not great depth on kickoffs
  • Tendency to pull ball left
  • Not a great onside kick specialist

Expert Draft Site Analysis

NFL.com

York was a highly ranked kicker coming out of high school and has played at a consistently high level for LSU. He gets consistent rotation on kicks from all distances and is usually near the middle of the uprights. He didn’t handle kickoff duties at LSU, but has the leg to do so as a pro and should become a good NFL kicker early in his career.