How high could Iowa Punter Tory Taylor go in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Tory Taylor is one of the greatest punters in college football history. But will NFL teams be willing to take him early in the 2024 NFL Draft?

South Dakota State v Iowa
South Dakota State v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

One of the more intriguing storylines in the 2024 NFL Draft after the first round is centered around a 26-year-old Australian punter. Tory Taylor set records at Iowa that stood for nearly a century and now he heads to the NFL looking to make even more history.

It's no secret that NFL teams don't value punters very highly. At the bottom of the totem poll of positional value on a 53-man roster, punter is usually at the bottom just above long-snapper. Of course, with either of those positions, teams and fans realize the importance of having an exceptional player once they experience a bad one.

The 2023 Iowa Hawkeyes couldn't have been more appreciative of having Taylor on its roster. Their offense was anemic, one of the worst in the entire country. But Taylor's performance, coupled with an elite defense, allowed Iowa to stay in most games, eventually winning 10 games and earning a trip to the Big Ten Championship.

Although elite punters can keep teams afloat, NFL franchises understandably use their draft capital to find skill players to circumvent the need for an above-average punter. As a result, only 17 punters have been drafted in the third round or higher. Four came in the second round while only Ray Guy was selected in the first round.

Since 2000, that number is only three, all of them in the third round. Of those three, Dustin Colquitt and Bryan Anger both lasted 10+ years in the league. B.J. Sander, a third-round pick from Ohio State in 2004, was out of the league after just one season in Green Bay.

While Colquitt and Anger were both solid prospects, neither presented a resume that matches what Taylor carries to the NFL.

Taylor set the NCAA's 85-year-old single-season yardage record with 4,479 yards on 93 punts in 2023. He also broke the NCAA's single-season and career punt yardage averages with 48.2 in 2023 and 46.3 for his career. On top of that, he was the 2023 Ray Guy winner, won two other Punter of the Year awards, was twice first-team All-Big Ten and was a unanimous All-American in 2023.

Arguably, the only negative in Taylor's scouting report is that he'll be 27 years old when he kicks his first NFL ball.

Still, there's no question that Taylor will be drafted and the chances of him not being the first punter selected are slim. But can he crack the top 100 picks like Anger, Colquitt and Sander did before him?

In 2023, only 12 NFL punters averaged more yards per punt than Taylor did at Iowa. The teams with the worst averages, each under 46 yards per punt, include the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. Of those teams, only the Steelers addressed the position in free agency. The Green Bay Packers are the only team with a vacancy at the position.

While, theoretically, any team could decide to draft Taylor, one of these teams with multiple third-round picks or extra top-100 picks would be the most likely to take him within the top 100 picks. Here's how those teams stack up in that regard.


3rd-Round Picks

Top-100 Picks

New Orleans Saints



Cincinnati Bengals



Miami Dolphins



Buffalo Bills



Green Bay Packers



So, based on that information, the Bengals and Packers would be the most likely to take him in the top 100.

The Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders have the most top-100 picks with Arizona holding six, and the Commanders having five. The Cardinals don't need a punter, but Washington's Tress Way averaged an even 46 yards per punt last year, 27th in the league.

Of course, teams move around a lot in the draft, so those numbers will change, but they don't often trade up to draft punters either.

The odds do seem a bit bleak for Taylor to hear his name called on Day 2 of the draft. If he is still available in round four, fans can expect his name to be called then, as it seems uinlikely he'll last 135 picks into the fifth round.

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