For the first time since 2010, the Seattle Seahawks will have a new kicker. While the kicker is the least sexy position on an NFL roster, they undoubtedly play a major role throughout the season.
In case you are confused about why a kicker is one of the 20 most interesting players for a very interesting Seahawks team, read the “rules of the series” in our series primer here. The simple fact is that Steven Hauschka was one the best and most consistent kickers in the NFL. Now, Hauschka is kicking for Buffalo and Blair Walsh is penciled in as the starting kicker entering training camp.
First; There is no question that Hauschka’s lackluster performance in 2017 made him a target for replacement. He missed several crucial kicks, including six missed PAT’s. As Hauschka’s contract expired, it became clear that Seattle was unwilling to give him the $3 million per year deal he ultimately got. Enter Blair Walsh.
Walsh is a strong-footed kicker, who most Seahawks fans remember for missing a 27-yard field goal against Seattle in the 2015 Wild Card round. This lead to a perception that Walsh is an inaccurate kicker. In truth, he is a career 84% success rate kicker. He was an All-Pro in 2012 and followed it with three solid seasons.
The 2015 season was undoubtedly a struggle for Walsh, who never quite got his stroke back and was released after nine games with Minnesota.
The Seahawks saved roughly $2 million in choosing Walsh over Hauschka. But why is Walsh on this list? Consider the change to special teams last season. When, in a attempt to save money, the Seahawks cut longtime long snapper Clint Gresham.
It was a major topic of discussion, and may or may not have had a major effect on the inconsistent kicking game last season. For the second time in 2 years, there is a new member of Seattle’s kick team.
The Seahawks need a strong kicking game , and Walsh strong leg could increase opportunities to score from a greater distance.
Right now, Walsh is like the pitcher who hit one batter and cannot find the strike zone. If he can find his stroke, he can be a valuable asset to his new team. If he can’t, the state of Seattle’s kicking game will be in flux. Blair Walsh could play a major role in the success, or failure, of the 2017 Seahawks.