3. Dustin Hopkins, K
When the Browns started training camp, they were trying to get Cade York on track. A fourth-round pick from LSU in 2022, York drilled a 58-yard game-winner in his debut game. From that point on, it was a roller-coaster for him.
A rough camp and preseason led to his release and in came Dustin Hopkins. The veteran kicker lost his job to Cameron Dicker and the Chargers were willing to deal his rights for a late-round pick.
He proved to be well worth the compensation as he knocked in 33-of-36 kicks including 8-of-8 from beyond 50. The long kicks led to him being honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After the win over Indianapolis, he became the first player to make a kick from beyond 50 in five consecutive games — and now, his jersey from the record-setting day is on display in Canton.
As if his proficiency from long distance wasn’t enough, Hopkins also had game-winning field goals against the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers in back-to-back weeks. He hit another in their comeback win over the Chicago Bears. He was considered automatic, especially in the clutch, after drilling these kicks right down Broadway.
Hopkins nearly broke a franchise record that’s been standing since 1965 during his sensational season. He wound up just five points shy of Jim Brown’s points record but a hamstring injury forced him out for the final two games. Hopefully, he can return for the playoffs because he’s proven to be a major weapon.