Matt Araiza
(Derrick Tuskan/San Diego State Athletics)

How Early Could SDSU Punter Matt Araiza Get Taken in the NFL Draft?

They call him Punt God. And no, that’s not the type of gimmicky love you’ll see bestowed on some other athletes in minor roles. One of the most dangerous weapons in college football is San Diego State punter Matt Araiza. Think that’s an exaggeration? Check this out.

Talk about flipping the field. This wasn’t just a one-off occurrence either. He has another 80-yard punt this season too. Araiza has as many 80-yard punts in just this season as the NFL has produced since 2013. Hawaii had to employ an insane punt coverage against him.

In yesterday’s game, Matt Araiza elevated his NCAA record with his 16th punt of 60+ yards this year. He also set the FBS mark for 50-yard punts with his 33rd of the season. Araiza is currently averaging 52.2 yards per punt. For reference, the NFL single-season record for average punt is 51.4 yards.

Could Araiza Be Drafted in the First Two Rounds?

As a junior, Araiza would be eligible for the NFL Draft in both 2022 and 2023. No punter has been selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft since 1995. (Interestingly, I found out while researching this that Cleveland used second round picks in both 1977 and 1978 to draft a punter. Talk about ineptitude.) Could Matt Araiza be the next one? Obviously, the ability to pin your opponent deep in their own territory represents a significant advantage.

Punter Bryan Anger famously went five picks before Russell Wilson in 2012 with the 70th overall pick. The Punt God is averaging far more yards per punt than Anger did his senior year. Araiza may be the greatest college punter of all time. Surely there’s some NFL team that takes him earlier than you would expect. The Aztec junior is an offensive weapon that frequently puts his defense in favorable spots. NFL GMs have got to love that.

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