Podlesh is the top-ranked punter in this years NFL Draft (scout.com), and is unlike an average punter, being that he’s an actual athlete. Podlesh ran the 40 yard dash in an impressive 4.47 seconds, has a 38.5 inch vertical leap, and also put up 24 reps on the bench press. The best part about his game is his consistency, as he averaged 42.3 and 43.7 yards per punt in each of his last two collegiate seasons. Podlesh has the ability to directional kick, and has displayed great hang time on his punts.
The Jaguars made Podlesh the first punter taken in this years draft, and have likely ended Chris Hanson’s stay in Jacksonville, at least with the Jaguars. Hanson had a miserable year in 2006, averaging just 40.6 yards per punt, with a 33.4 yard net average, each stat ranked him as one of the league’s worst punters. Hanson’s health was partially to blame, as he was battling a pulled hamstring for much of the season. Hanson has been with the Jaguars since 2001, and was selected to one Pro Bowl.
The selection of Podlesh early in the fourth round seems like a bit of a reach, but with the 10 second day draft picks that the Jaguars possess, they are able to potentially give up a little value to get the guy they are targeting. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis should be pleased with this draft thus far for the Jaguars, as they’ve picked guys in every round that can and likely will play some special teams.