5 Best Cleveland Browns seventh-round picks since 1999
By Randy Gurzi
4. Zane Gonzalez, K, 2017
There’s a belief some hold that kickers should never be drafted. There’s some validity to that as the NFL is full of kickers who weren’t drafted — including Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens who just so happens to be the most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL.
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This doesn’t mean it’s easy to find a kicker but they can be found without investing much. For the Browns, they clearly don’t adhere to this rule and have even drafted two kickers since 2017. Their current placekicker is Austin Seibert, a fifth-round pick from Oklahoma that took over for Greg Joseph after he was 17-of-20 in 2018.
Joseph had taken over for their last kicker acquired in the draft, Zane Gonzalez. A seventh-round pick out of Arizona State in 2017, Gonzalez had a short tenure with the Browns that ended rather terribly. After going 15-of-20 as a rookie, Gonzalez was simply off in his second season. In two games, he was 2-of-5 kicking and missed a potential game-winner in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and a kick that could have tied the game with the New Orleans Saints in Week 2.
Gonzalez was cut following the second week of his sophomore campaign. Afterward, he expressed frustration with the coaching staff saying he was dealing with a groin injury. While it was shrugged off as an excuse, the former ASU standout has proven since then that he might have been telling the truth.
He returned to Phoenix in 2018 and was 7-of-9 for them. In 2019, he was even better, knocking 31-of-35 kicks. Cleveland is fine now, with Seibert connecting on 25-of-29 tries as a rookie showing he can get the job done. But Gonzalez also showed he can play and was actually a really good 7th-round pick for the Browns even if it ended unceremoniously.