Cleveland Browns: Why drafting Cade York will pay off big time

Apr 17, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers place kicker Cade York (36) kicks a field goal with place kicker Avery Atkins (32) holding the ball during the first half of the annual Purple and White spring game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers place kicker Cade York (36) kicks a field goal with place kicker Avery Atkins (32) holding the ball during the first half of the annual Purple and White spring game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Cleveland Browns have been looking for a kicker for the better part of a decade and feel they found a gem in Cade York in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The ghost of Phil Dawson remains on the shores of Lake Erie as the Cleveland Browns have yet to find a replacement for the legendary kicker after he parted ways after the 2012 season. General manager Andrew Berry decided to address the kicking issue in the 2022 NFL Draft when he drafted Cade York out of LSU in the fourth round.

Now, I’m sure some of you who are reading this weren’t too happy at the time of the selection, and normally, you’d be right, but this time is a little different. And yes, I’m well aware the Browns drafted a kicker in 2019 (Austin Seibert) and 2017 (Zane Gonzalez), but they didn’t possess the skill set of York. And, neither of those picks were under the Berry regime.

Regardless of what you say or think – this is mostly geared towards DPD’s own Joel W. Cade – kickers in the NFL matter. Sure, there are only a handful of good ones on a consistent basis and even fewer who are great, but they absolutely matter. In fact, since 2003, 18.69 percent of all games in the regular and postseason have been decided by exactly three points.

A three-point win or loss could make or break your playoff chances. The Browns finished 2021 with a record of 8-9 and lost two games by less than three points. If they had a kicker with York’s ability, perhaps they’d win those games and make the playoffs.

Berry was not going to chance that yet again and in his third draft as the general manager of the Browns, he went out and made a splash. Some of you I’m sure will be upset that he drafted York so high, but let me attempt to change your viewpoint really quick. The Browns traded the 44th overall pick in exchange for 68, 108, and 118, which they then flipped and moved to 124, where they took York.

Now ask yourself this; would you rather have one solid player who could potentially be a Day 1 starter or would you rather have three additional picks along with the two you already had in the third round? I’ll stick with the latter.

Going off of that last point, look at Evan McPherson, who the Bengals drafted in the fifth round of last year’s draft. He had quite the rookie campaign, as he converted 46-of-48 extra points and 28-of-33 field goals, including nine from 50+ yards. Here’s where he got even better; in the playoffs.

He converted 14-of-14 field goals, three from 50+ yards, and nailed all six of his extra points. He even kicked his team into the two biggest games of the year; the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl. So, if York can duplicate that in any way, there will be a statue built outside FirstEnergy Stadium.

Elsewhere in the division, the Ravens have arguably the greatest kicker of all time in Justin Tucker. The Steelers have a pretty good kicker themselves in Chris Boswell. Oddly enough, those two teams usually win close games and advance to the playoffs. It’s almost like I said earlier, kicking in the NFL matters!

If you love a player in a draft, by all means, do whatever it takes to go get that player, even if that means moving up or down the board. Berry was very high on York and explained that the Browns thought that he was one of the best kicking prospects of the last few years.

"“We thought Cade (York) was one of the best kicking prospects that have come out the last couple of years. We think he can really do everything that’s required of the position at a high level,” Berry on The Ken Carmen Show."

What York brings to the table is power and consistency. In his three-year collegiate career with the LSU Geaux Tigers, he converted 164-of-168 extra points and 54-of-66 field goals, including 15-of-19 from 50+ yards. That big, booming leg will come in handy when kicking into the Dawg Pound portion of FirstEnergy Stadium in the fall and winter.

There is normally some sort of kicking competition in training camp, but that appears to not be the case as both Chase McLaughlin and Chris Blewitt were released earlier this week. The job is York’s and I for one am excited to see what he can do.

Next. Cleveland Browns aggressively early 53-man roster prediction for 2022. dark

The Cleveland Browns drafting Cade York in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft will pay off big time for the team for years to come.

facebooktwitterreddit