Matt Araiza is definitely one of the most popular kickers to enter the NFL draft in a long time, but that didn’t make him the most valued by teams, resulting in the third pick of the event.
The San Diego State kicker known in many college football circles as “Punt God” ended up being the third pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Penn State’s Jordan Stout was the Baltimore Ravens’ first pick in the fourth round and 130th overall, while Georgia’s Jake Camarda was three picks later to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 133rd overall.
Araiza was selected by the Buffalo Bills, being the first pick of the sixth round, number 180 overall.
This is not the NFL debut that many imagined for Araiza, a unanimous All-American winner of the 2021 Ray Guy Award for “Best punter in college football.” A draft that not even Ariza himself expected and with which he seems to be upset.
Of course, having a great kick to send yards away the ball isn’t the only thing that matters. Araiza surely would have been the first choice if that was the case. However, the Ravens like Stout better, and he has the stats to back it up.
Meeting with the media at a Bills press conference, Araiza indicated that he was somewhat angry about being the third kicker selected:
“People who know me know that I take things personally. I will just say that I have a lot of motivation to dominate this season.”
This could be the first time in NFL history that a punter has taken offense at being drafted only in the sixth round. Fortunately, he certainly landed on the right team.
The Bills’ starting quarterback was a two-star draft pick and was widely mocked when Buffalo drafted him in the top 10. His main target, Stefon Diggs, was a fifth-round pick and left tackle Dion Dawkins had no Power 5 offers out of high school. Last year, the team’s only two All-Pro selections were free safety Jordan Poyer, a seventh-round pick, and strong safety Micah Hyde, a fifth-round pick.
Regarding the nickname that everyone gives to Ariza, he expressed that he seemed out of the ordinary:
“To be honest, I don’t necessarily love the nickname. I understand that it’s a huge compliment, but I think it’s too much.”
We all can agree that this guy knows the word sincerity well. Maybe that would come in handy for the team.
Winners and losers
Even though we are still several months away from the 2023 NFL start on September 8, the draft has aroused the excitement of fans who are already thinking about the Super Bowl.
For now, the media believes that the big winners of the draft were the Baltimore Ravens, by getting the best safety and center, Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens are among the fan-favorite teams to win the Superbowl, which is reflected in the betting odds found in the most prestigious sportsbooks.
Like the Ravens, the Eagles had a great night landing Howie Roseman and wide receiver A.J Brown.
One thing that was surprising in this season’s draft was that only one QB was selected from the top 32, Kenny Picket. Expected players like Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral, and Sam Howell didn’t hear their names in the first round.
Beyond the athletes, the Dallas Cowboys did not have a good time either. They couldn’t get Kenyon Green, Zion Johnson, or wide receiver Treylon Burks. So they had to go with a tackle, Tyler Smith, who was subject to several penalties in Tulsa and had medical intervention due to Blount’s illness.
However, we will find out how things will turn out when the season’s first ball gets kicked.
The 103rd NFL season will begin on September 8 with the defending Super Bowl LVI champion Los Angeles Rams hosting the NFL Kickoff Game. The season will come to an end on January 8, 2023.
This new season is expected to be more watched than the previous one, and considering the draft movements, we are sure that It will draw the attention of many fans and new spectators.